Worlds 2014: “American Miyao” Mikey Musumeci conquers the purple belt light-featherweights

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Photo: Erin Herle

Guilherme Mendes promotes Mikey Musumeci to brown belt after winning gold in the purple belt light-featherweight division. Photo: Erin Herle

Mikey Musumeci of Jaco Hybrid Training Center in Florida conquered the world title at the 2014 World Championships on the first day of the event. Having won the 2014 Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championship this past March, Mikey was able to continue his success for this big day for team Atos in the purple belt light-featherweight category.

Overall, he had six matches, three of which ended in submission: one omoplata, one armbar and one choke from the back. His toughest match was the final against Hiago Gama of Alliance because it was a match defined by “more heart than anything”.

Mikey works his passing against Hiago Gama. Photo: Erin Herle

Mikey works his passing against Hiago Gama. Photo: Erin Herle

On the podium, Guilherme Mendes promoted the seventeen-year-old to brown belt. The teen is also sister to Tammi Musumeci, a young black belt who recently won the 2014 Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championship as well. “My sister is my idol and I’m following her footsteps since she was also promoted to brown belt at seventeen,” Mikey says.

When he’s not in school as a newly graduated junior going into his senior year, Mikey trains Jiu-Jitsu twice a day and completes his strength and conditioning two times a week. He also drills a lot with his sister. Soon he’ll take the ACT test and hopes to follow Tammi’s lead and enter a law program for university.

At four years old, Mikey began Jiu-Jitsu and by 2012 he won his first blue belt juvenile world title. He completed the feat the following year and was promoted to purple belt at sixteen in 2013.

What makes the journey to purple belt world champion unique for Mikey is that he only competed at adult for one year– this year, the same year he fought his first year at purple belt. Now the accomplishments have been fulfilled and he enters the world of toeholds and kneebars.

Mikey goes for the back off of the berimbolo. Photo: Erin Herle

Mikey goes for the back off of the berimbolo. Photo: Erin Herle

But while he was well-rounded in his submissions, the boy loves his berimbolos. His flexible game is, in appearance, similar to the Miyao brothers who have claimed their fame due to the berimbolo game as well. He poses the threats similar to the Miyaos and has been dubbed the “American Miyao” for the time being.

Following this championship will be much training ahead as the summer break lends him the time and “if the IBJJF doesn’t stop me, Il’l compete at the No-Gi Worlds later this year”. The rule for purple belt rank is that you must stay at that rank for one and a half years, and so far the time has only lasted a year.

The purple belts only showcased the rooster and light-featherweights as the rest of the male purple belt divisions will continue tomorrow, May 30.

Check out full photos of the day go here and here and full results of the first day at the 2014 World Championship here.

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