A Brazilian National Championship-winning black belt, Raphael Abi-Rihan had did something he never had before last Saturday at the Copa Pódio pre-event held at Delfim academy in Tijuca.
Already scheduled to take part in one of the supermatches on the coming 21st, the Carlson Gracie-team black belt was invited to be a commentator for the two supermatches that took place during the Middleweight GP draw. In the green team: current absolute champion of Brazil Nivaldo Oliveira, Victor Bomfim, Davi Ramos, André Bastos and Vinicius Marinho. In the yellow, three world champions, Otávio Sousa, Leandro Lo and brown belt Felipe “Preguiça”, join Rafael Formiga and Dimitrius Souza. The athletes from each group compete against each other to go through to the semifinals.
Abi-Rihan received praise across the board. “Friends of mine who’d never heard about Jiu-Jitsu called to say that they understood everything that was going on in the fights. Abi-Rihan was very simple and didactic, and interesting to those already familiar with the art,” said Jeferson Maycá, the organizer of the event, in praise.
Abi-Rihan, who will be facing Guto Campos in a supermatch on the 21st in Rio, told GRACIEMAG.com what he learned from the experience.
Copa Pódio’s promoters were so positive, they want to renew with you. What are your thoughts about this “new role” of yours in Jiu-Jitsu?
I felt great commentating alongside Marco de Vargas and was pleased with the feedback I got from everybody, first there on the day and then over the internet. I felt really at home in the situation. The cool part was how happy my parents were, because they’re journalists and were proud. I felt something different in that situation. It’s like I could offer something to a large amount of people at the same time. I got to inform people on a subject and didn’t need to study to do it, and it wasn’t laborious or tense because I did it for the pleasure of it. Jiu-Jitsu is in my blood. As for the assessment of my performance, I’ll leave that to my old man (laughs).
Does watching Jiu-Jitsu from the outside, with the aim of explaining it as it happens, help you study it?
For sure. I grew a lot through this Jiu-Jitsu-related experience. I also felt more involved with the sport, which is my profession and philosophy of life. I made it clear to the event promoter, Jeferson, that my thing is fighting; however, whenever I’m not fighting and there’s room at the table, it will be a pleasure to take on the mission again.
How is training to face Guto Campos in the supermatch going?
I’m already back to training. After all, on July 21 I’ll be in a serious war and there won’t be any way to “cut the audio” if I make some mistake. I’m happily back at training. It’s a pleasure to compete at an event that’s revolutionizing Jiu-Jitsu competitions through its innovative format. What made me all the more pleased was being picked to face Guto Campos with 4,600 votes on Facebook, ahead of World Championship-winning fighters. It’s an honor and tremendous prestige for me.