The students of GMA Marcelo Garcia Academy are gaining ground–quite literally. Besides taking over podiums they are now traveling internationally taking up opportunities as they come.
This Saturday, Nov. 22 will prove to be a big weekend with Metamoris, Copa Podio and the Rickson Gracie Cup featuring students of MGA.
Dillon Danis traveled to Tokyo on Wednesday for the Rickson Gracie Cup. Sponsor Shoyoroll sent the brown belt world champion on his way to hopefully earn a new title in Asia. The 21-year-old says, “Competing in Japan means a lot to me because I am really into the samurai spirit. It will be a great experience for me.” On what it means for the team he explains, “It’s an effect of our hard work and unity. We all grind together every day and these opportunities are bound to come. We’re going to show the world what we’re about and how hard we train!”
Over in South America, both black belt Gianni Grippo and brown belt Jonathan Satava are settled into Rio de Janeiro as they prepare for their day at Copa Podio.
For Gianni, this will be his second time at the event. He first competed in the lightweight grand prix earlier this year but will now be facing Joao Miyao in a no time limit, submission-only no-gi match. Ready for this next challenge he writes, “I’ve been thinking about this opportunity since the last time I stepped off the Copa Podio mats this past April. I was really disappointed with my performance then. I’m excited because I feel like this is a great opportunity for me to redeem myself against an opponent who I have a lot of respect for.”
Jonathan Satava will make Copa Podio debut as part of the middleweight grand prix in the yellow group. He will face top black belts to vie for the crown. His feelings towards Saturday: “This is my first time competing at a tournament this big. It has brought a lot more attention than I’m used to but it’s been fun dealing with the challenges of it. I look forward to competing and giving my best against some of the best.”
When it comes to the team, even their feelings are mutual. Their joint statement about the importance of the MGA team’s opportunities this weekend reads: “We’re both so excited about this weekend now that Matheus is in Metamoris and Dillon is competing at the Rickson Cup in Japan. This is an extra motivation for us to give everything in our matches because we know our brothers will be doing the same. Also this really means a lot to us as a team. We’ve all been working hard together and it’s great to see that the hard work is beginning to open up opportunities for everyone. Now it’s just time to take advantage of those opportunities.”
It was only yesterday that the team secured yet another opportunity, this time in the home country in the form of a Metamoris superfight. After a tough social media contest and an executive decision by the organization, organizer Ralek Gracie chose Matheus Diniz to replace Kevin Casey in the superfight against Vinny Magalhaes and have a chance to win $10,000 should he submit the ADCC champ.
Matheus sees this opening as a way to prove the success of Marcelo’s tutelage and the hard work of his training partners who have helped him prepare for this even on late notice.
You can catch the Copa Podio event on their livestream at www.copapodio.com starting 12:30 p.m. PST
Metamoris will begin at 1 p.m. PST with their livestream at www.metamoris.com