Photos: John Cooper
When Rolles, Igor, and Gregor Gracie came to Las Vegas for the 2010 American National No-Gi Jiu Jitsu Championship from Renzo Gracie’s Academy in New York City, they showed everyone they know how to roll No-Gi Style.
In the ultra heavyweight no-gi division, Rolles Gracie pulled out the gold medal with a hurt foot, elbow, knee, and shoulder. “Every joint in my body is hurt,” he laughs. But it didn’t stop the big man from dominating the one match he had with Fabiano Lima from Brazilian Top Team.
Rolles was in Southern California the night before giving a seminar at his cousin Ronis Gracie’s GB academy in Garden Grove. “He’s a great kid,” Rolles says of Ronis, “The seminar finally happened. Then I came here to compete.”
Rolles didn’t realize he’d only have one match, but says his experience at the Nationals was a good one. Rolles is now looking forward to the Pan in New York, and his upcoming professional match against “Cyborg” Abreu.
In the medium heavyweight no-gi division, both Igor and Gregor Gracie dominated the event, with the two of them closing out the division and Igor taking gold. Igor had two matches, winning the first by armbar and the second by kneebar. Igor came to the tournament to support his students who were competing from Renzo’s Academy and then thought he might as well compete himself.
“It was a good experience,” he says, “Couldn’t be better.” Igor is now training for the upcoming Pan Ams in New York and will make an appearance at the No Gi Worlds this fall.
Gregor Gracie also came out to support his students and decided to compete at the last minute. “We came with a big team from Renzo’s,” Gregor says, “About 12 guys and they all medaled.” As for Gregor, he says he always has fun competing, “You grow as a human being when you compete,” he says, “It’s good to challenge yourself.”
Gregor said they decided under gentleman’s agreement to give Igor the gold medal for their division. “He’s my big brother,” Gregor laughs, “I didn’t want him to beat me up and make me look bad.”
He had no worries about looking bad as he swept the no-gi absolute and took the gold medal for his efforts. In his semifinal match against Rafael Lovato, he took his time setting up his game. The last half of the match was a flurry of activity from both competitors, with neither giving up any points. The referee gave the match to Gregor, and Lovato was not happy about it saying, “He was just sitting there!”
In the finals, with Diego Herzog, the two ended up in a 50/50 with Herzog switching his leg from the outside to the inside and injuring Gregor’s knee. The referee disqualified Herzog and Gregor limped off the mats as the winner of the 2010 American National No-Gi Jiu Jitsu Championship absolute category.
“Every match was tough,” Gregor says, “Diego was a tough guy. I just wish we could have fought the whole match. I’m sure there will be a next time.”
“I love Jiu-Jitsu and will always compete in it,” he says, but Gregor is now looking forward to his no-gi fight with Pablo Popovitch and a possible MMA fight in October, which may put his Jiu-Jitsu competition schedule on hold.
As for the American Nationals, he wrapped up the day saying, “Three Gracies and three gold medals. Couldn’t be better!”