Renzo on wrestling



Submitted by: Eddie Goldman/ADCC Wrestling Editor
Posted On 12/27/2003

Having covered countless live events in the many disciplines and styles that constitute the combat sports, it has always bothered me that I rarely see the same groups of people at events which feature these different styles. I regularly see boxing people who still stare quizzically when I tell them that I cover wrestling, even after explaining that it is real wrestling to which I refer. There are still plenty of wrestling people who bristle at the mention of any type of combat sport involving striking, be it boxing, kickboxing, mixed martial arts, or any other. And there are people who frequent one or a few styles of grappling events, but who do not venture down the road to witness wrestling. You can add any combination of your own, and the problem will probably still exist.

So it was with added pleasure last Saturday when I turned around at the New York Athletic Club Christmas Wrestling Championships and ran into an old friend whom I am always delighted to see: NHB and jiu-jitsu legend Renzo Gracie.

'I can't believe how many wrestlers in good shape there are,' he said with awe while looking at the competitors grinding away at each other on the mat. 'So I'm having a great time, and it's nice to see such unbelievable athletes here.'

Renzo continued on about the way he was so impressed with the conditioning of the wrestlers.

'What I like a lot about them is the discipline of training,' he said. 'It's amazing. To get in such good shape, you have to really dedicate a lot of your time into it.' He thus saw the wrestlers' conditioning as something that the jiu-jitsu competitors should emulate.

'Even though we are now having a lot of guys who are getting into unbelievable good physical condition, definitely they should have looked forward to be athletes like those people here. They would make their game much better,' he stated.

Unlike jiu-jitsu in the U.S., however, wrestling already has a network in place in the schools, as well as support on the national level through the Olympic Training Center and the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Renzo said that jiu-jitsu can match this kind of support. 'I can see the jiu-jitsu, even the sport jiu-jitsu, is able to raise that kind of money,' he argued. He urged 'the promoters to look into it and make it happen. This will be possible, I think.'

Even at this event, the crossover in the combat sports was obvious. The tournament's freestyle heavyweight champion, Steve Mocco, has been a judo player, and his array of foot sweeps showed it. Olympic Greco-Roman wrestler Kevin Bracken, in attendance here though sidelined with an injury, has fought on several mixed martial arts shows. Yet the organizations running these sports do not have much cooperation, a situation Renzo agreed should change.

'I believe everything comes down to one point: All those styles come down to a fight. So we are fighters. They are fighters,' he analyzed. 'So it's just a matter of time before we find the perfect rules for everybody and the perfect style for everybody.'

He continued, 'Fighting is the most entertaining sport ever. It's much better than any other sport. And it's much better than any ball game or anything like that. So it's just a matter of time before it becomes huge. And I can see that in the near future. I hope I'm still alive to see myself fighting on those kind of competitions.'

For himself, however, he will be taking an involuntary break.

'I had a torn ACL,' he explained. 'It happened to me the last time I fought in Pride, against Carlos Newton. So I'm going to be taking a little vacation.'

But he does not see that as simply a bad thing. 'On one hand, I won't be able to train,' he said. 'But on the other, I will be able to eat whatever I want, and to have sex as many times as I want,' he added with a laugh. 'The good and the downside.'

One of Renzo's prot矇g矇s, Ricardo Almeida, has also added to his fighting arsenal by training with wrestlers. 'Ricardo is in unbelievable shape. He's training with a lot of good wrestlers, and he's putting up an unbelievable fight,' said Renzo. 'He fought the last King of Pancrase against Nathan [Marquardt].' On November 30 in Tokyo, Ricardo Almeida defeated Nathan Marquardt by a choke at 4:53 of the first round to become the 4th Middleweight King of Pancrase. 'It was an unbelievable fight that he came out as the winner. So I'm very proud of him,' said Renzo.

But, at least as of last Saturday, it was still not clear if Renzo's controversial brother, Ryan Gracie, would be fighting on Dec. 31 at the Pride New Year's Eve show at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan.

'Ryan is not feeling so good,' Renzo said. 'He's having a problem in his ribs, and I don't know if he's going to be fighting. It's still not decided yet. But Royce is fighting his rematch against the Japanese judo champion [Yoshida]. It's going to be fun for some Gracies in Japan having sushi, and for the others it will be eggnog here in America and New Jersey.'

For himself, Renzo said that he intends to resume his own fighting career as soon as possible. 'I want to see how my knee will come out of this operation,' he said. 'And I will definitely be looking forward to fight again. There's nothing that I like more than fighting, so I can't wait to be in the ring again.'

Before we started speaking, we had a photo taken by Gary Abbott of USA Wrestling with 1984 Olympic gold medalist and U.S. National Greco-Roman Coach Steve Fraser, 2000 Olympic gold medalist and 2001 World Champion Rulon Gardner, 2000 Olympic wrestler Kevin Bracken, and Renzo and myself.

'That picture was my pleasure,' commented Renzo. 'I felt small near those giants of this amazing American sport. And it's a great pleasure.'

Also, I must admit, Renzo was quite glad to run into me: 'It's a pleasure to be here. Especially I couldn't believe what my eyes saw, my dear friend Eddie Goldman.'

And hopefully we will all start to run into all sorts of people from the various combat sports at all sorts of different events. On this wish, Renzo concluded, 'I agree with you 100 percent.'

-- Eddie Goldman,


Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Aug 28, 2001
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Terre Haute, IN
Maybe someday we'll get 'Professional Jiu-Jitsu', brought to you by Vince McMahon! "Tonight, in a steel cage death match..."


Master of Arts
May 26, 2002
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Originally posted by arnisador
Maybe someday we'll get 'Professional Jiu-Jitsu', brought to you by Vince McMahon! "Tonight, in a steel cage death match..."

Now That Would Be cool LoL

On a Serious Note Crosstraining is on
The Rise. & Thats Going to Lead Martial Arts into
The Future.


Renzo was talking about Amature wrestling lol.


Senior Master
Jul 7, 2002
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arnisador said:
Maybe someday we'll get 'Professional Jiu-Jitsu', brought to you by Vince McMahon! "Tonight, in a steel cage death match..."
It's not too absurd. Lots of Japanese pro wrestling promotions have shoot fighting matches under their auspices.

Vince has played with it a little already. He brought in Butterbean for a mini boxing tournament once (complete with real contact etc).