Inside story: Amaury Bitetti and the iguana’s wake

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Amaury Bitetti in photo by Carlos Ozório

Amaury Bitetti is a rare breed of champion, the kind that can make an opponent suffer in training and then kill them with laughter telling stories right after.

The world’s first absolute world champion, as well as the first two-time absolute world champion, the pioneer black belt is still sharp, which he made clear on a tour teaching seminars around Brazil, in such cities as Vitória, Recife and Fortaleza. To find out where in the country you can get to learn from Bitetti, send an email to

Fans of the veteran fighter, GRACIEMAG decided to revisit one of his priceless sagas, a tragicomedy that played out on Ipanema Beach and was originally printed in issue #53, back in 2001. Amaury tells the story:

“I was with a friend of mine, running on the promenade, when another buddy of ours came our way, wearing a dark green T-shirt. I went to talk to him and gave a slap on the back in greeting. I suddenly realized he was looking at me in shock… That’s when he pulled an iguana from his neck. It looked like in the cartoons, when the creature dies and there’s an X in its eyes.

“The thing was totally rigid. At first I couldn’t move. Then I tried bringing the animal back to life, but there was nothing I could do; the slap had killed the iguana. Not knowing what to say, I suggested we go have a symbolic burial for it in the sand…

“The guy didn’t understand. He said in despair: ‘What are you talking about burial?! What am I going to tell my girlfriend? She gave me the creature this morning!’ I tiptoed out of there. There was nothing left to do. Dang, more karma for me to pay back!”

That is Amaury Bitetti, a rare breed of champion who has taken on Don Frye, Maurice Travis, Dennis Hallman and… a poor iguana.

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Casa cheia para aprender com Amaury Bitetti durante seminário em Vila Velha, na equipe Vitória Combat Club. Foto: Divulgação

Casa cheia para aprender com Bitetti durante seminário em Vila Velha, na equipe Vitória Combat Club. Foto: Divulgação


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