Red-and-black belt Rickson Gracie was at Equipe 1, a gym in Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana neighborhood, this Monday for the launch of his MMA event, Mestre do Combate, of which the inaugural event is set for November 22 and for which tickets are already on sale.
Rickson, wearing a gi and quite at ease on the blue mat at Ricardo de la Riva’s gym, chatted with the Carlson Gracie black belt, posed for dozens of photos and handed out autographs. “It’s nice to soak up this positive energy here,” he said, to de la Riva, with a smile.
Given the mass of attention concentrated on the master, the GRACIEMAG.com reporter used the Jiu-Jitsu mantra of “maximum efficiency with minimum effort” to good effect: he skirted the hordes of people and waited for Rickson at the exit.
Showered up and sporting a white T-shirt, he paused on the sidewalk at Nossa Senhora de Copacabana Ave. to discuss the event, before, smooth as a cat, he leapt into a taxi and departed.
The Mestre do Combate event
“I’m truly excited about what the new event brings to the table. Our aim is to create a new paradigm and recover the martial arts values that were lost over time, during MMA’s long journey in becoming what it is today. In today’s MMA, anything’s an excuse to stand the fight back up; the ground action hardly begins and the referee already steps in and the fighters start kicking and punching again. Our rules were created to appreciate ground fighting; no one will get saved by the bell, for example. If a submission hold is in place, the victim will have to escape it first before the bell can ring.”
Does Jiu-Jitsu benefit from the event?
“Yes, the art benefits too. This rule has nothing to do with Jiu-Jitsu; it’s a rule for MMA. But the ground game does regain appreciation, and with that, the effectiveness of the technique is more likely to be tested and refined. It’s what we’ve seen ever since the early days of the sport: real fights tend to end up on the ground. We just don’t want to see athletes getting interrupted the whole time when they’re pursuing positions of advantage from which to win. I’m motivated and confident it’ll be a great show. I hope the fighters go for the idea and give their all to try and win.”
His son Kron Gracie
“I’m really pleased with his performance at Metamoris Pro. He did awesome [tapping out Otávio Sousa]. All I can say is that he’s making me really proud.”