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Tag: Brazilian jiu-jitsu

Torre Alert: Well-Known Jiu-Jitsu Fraud David Lang Uncovered Running McDojo in Upstate New York


(“Nah dude, check out his *original* Tapout shirt. No way this guy’s a phony.”)

Well, this is coincidental.

If you haven’t read my interview with Fighting in Plain Sight director Edward Doty yet, what the hell, brah? Also, I’d recommend that you check it out, if only to learn a little more about the fascinating story of Rafiel Torre, the former MMA reporter/”fighter” turned convicted murderer. You see, back in the early aughts, Rafiel liked to pass himself off as a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt and former Navy SEAL who retired with an unblemished fight record of 17-0. It wasn’t until he unretired in 2001 and put on a work at King of the Cage 7 that his history of deception began to reveal itself. Rafiel Torre wasn’t a Black Belt, he wasn’t a former Navy SEAL, hell, Rafiel Torre wasn’t even his real name (although I suppose it wouldn’t have been as easy to sell himself as a native Brazilian with a name like Ralph Bartel).

In any case, I threw the article together last night, and what pops up on the front page of the reddit MMA page this morning? Only a story about a notorious Jiu-Jitsu fraud and phony war hero being uncovered running a BJJ McDojo in Cortland, New York (a mere hour’s drive from my hometown). His name is David Lang, and his similarities to Torre don’t end at the false military and martial arts credentials. No, like Torre, Lang also claimed/claims to have been born in Brazil and moved to the US at a young age. Lang even fabricated a Brazilian cousin *named* Rafael in an attempt to add credence to his claims, for Christ’s sake.

But we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves. Let us first begin to understand how Lang was exposed as a fraud in the first place (via the Police Gazette, who uncovered his most recent scam):

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Kron Gracie Wins ADCC 2013 Tournament – Will He Turn to MMA Next?


(On the other hand, a noodling business venture with the Diaz brothers seems pretty tempting.)

Kron Gracie, son of family champ Rickson Gracie, won gold in the -77kg weight class of the 2013 ADCC tournament this past weekend. The ADCC is like the Olympics of submission grappling, with the world’s best meeting every two years to decide weight class champs as well as an open-weight champion.

Gracie won all four of his matches by submission, joining the elite ranks of former champions to have done the same like Marcelo Garcia and second cousin Roger Gracie. Kron beat UFC veteran Andy Wang in his first match, Gary Tonon in his second, J.T. Torres in his third and rival Otavio Souza in the finals.

Before competing at Metamoris II this past summer, Gracie told CagePotato that he has been training MMA with the Diaz brothers for some time and plans to make the transition to MMA in the near future. Gracie is supposed to have a super match at the World Jiu Jitsu Expo next month but it will be interesting to see what he decides to do in 2014.

Will Gracie decide to leverage his now champion status in the submission grappling world or walk away and make a name for himself in MMA? How much of a sense of urgency does he feel to focus all of his attention on developing a well-rounded MMA game?

Only time will tell but we’ll certainly bring you updates as they occur. For the time being, enjoy Kron’s 2013 ADCC matches against Tonon and Souza after the jump.

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Royce Gracie Plain Wrong in His Criticism of Own Family


(We never expected The Godfather of MMA to take sides against the family like this. | Photo by Sherdog.com)

By Elias Cepeda

On Monday I wrote about practitioners of “real” Jiu Jitsu. That is, those who have a background in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and who test those skills in real fights.

Kron Gracie looks to be the next such high-profile example as he sets his sights on a 2014 MMA debut. Royce Gracie is, of course, the first that most of us ever heard of.

Gracie entered the original UFC tournaments as the lightest fighter in open weight contests where the only rules were no biting, eye gouging or fish-hooking, and submitted three and four men in single-night tournaments with the Jiu Jitsu skills that his family developed. As such, Royce’s place in history is more than secure.

As younger family members of his try to carve out their own space in MMA, however, Royce is offering not support but rather rough criticism. Many have criticized fighters like Roger and Rolles Gracie for not being as well-rounded as a few of their best opponents, and take the occasions of their losses to pile on.

Surprisingly, Royce is the latest critic to add some fertilizer onto that pile. Unlike many others, however, Royce says that the reason for his family members’ recent losses is because they are trying to be too well-rounded.

“Jiu-jitsu is enough,” Royce Gracie recently told MMAFighting.com. “I’ve trained boxing in the past to learn the distance, trained wrestling to understand how he would take me down, but I won’t get there to fight my opponent’s game. The [new] guys [from the Gracie] family want to complement their game, like if Jiu-Jitsu was incomplete. I guess they forgot a little about history.

“I do jiu-jitsu my whole life, so why would I try to stand and bang with Mike Tyson?” he went on. ”I’m going to learn boxing in six months because my opponent is good in boxing? That makes no sense.”

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On Rank, Resumes, and Arm Bars — The Simple Reason Why Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Still Matters in MMA


(The Gracies proved that BJJ is indispensable — not that it’s invincible. / Photo via Getty)

By Elias Cepeda

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in mixed martial arts has been on my mind a bit more than usual lately. A few weeks ago Benson Henderson walked to the ring wearing a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gi with his brand new black belt tied around it at the waist.

Minutes later he walked out, his black belt still in tow but without his UFC lightweight title belt after getting submitted by an arm bar from inside the full guard of Anthony Pettis. At the time, Pettis was ranked as a blue belt — the belt just above white in BJJ.

Not many weeks prior to that, Roger Gracie, the most dominant submission grappling competitor in decades, lost his UFC debut and then was promptly dropped from the organization. This past Saturday, Roger’s cousin Rolles – son of legendary Rolls Gracie – got knocked out in the second round of his WSOF 5 fight with Derrick Mehmen in tragically comic fashion.

Rolles got hit, the punch put him out on his feet and he spun around slowly before falling to the ground. It looked like the slapstick “Flair Flop” move that pro wrestler Ric Flair used to pull off after getting hit to put over his opponent. Three and a half years ago, of course, Rolles humiliated himself against Joey Beltran in his lone UFC fight after appearing to exhaust himself almost immediately.

Both recent Gracie losses brought about public questions of whether or not the Gracie family and Jiu Jitsu itself have become outdated in modern MMA. Henderson’s submission loss to Pettis could have been seen as a triumph of Jiu Jitsu technique but instead, some critics chose to question the validity and use of BJJ belt ranks.

What did Henderson’s black belt mean, exactly, if he could go out and get submitted by someone with a lower BJJ rank, who was more known for high-flying kicks than anything, and with such a basic move? The notions that Gracies losing fights and Henderson getting submitted somehow reflect negatively on Jiu Jitsu itself are, of course, silly.

MMA isn’t about magical styles and secrets solely in the possession of those with certain-colored pieces of clothing or particular surnames. It never has been.

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Royler Gracie on Eddie Bravo Rematch: “Some People Like to Talk, Some People Like to Fight” [VIDEO]


(Video via YouTube.com/CagePotato. Subscribe, dammit!)

At the age of 47, BJJ legend (and retired MMA fighter) Royler Gracie is preparing to return to competition later this year at Metamoris 3 (date/venue TBA), in a grappling rematch with Eddie Bravo. In this interview following the match announcement at Metamoris 2 earlier this month, CagePotato reporter Elias Cepeda recaps the first meeting between Royler and Eddie back in 2003 — which made Eddie Bravo’s name overnight and legitimized his forward-thinking approach to jiu-jitsu — and gets Royler’s take on their second meeting ten years later. As Royler puts it, “I’m not trying to make history, I’m already part of history.”

For more behind-the-scenes videos and MMA interviews, please visit CagePotato’s YouTube channel.

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[EXCLUSIVE] UFC Heavyweight Brendan Schaub Takes on New Challenge at Metamoris II

Brendan Schaub UFC 134

By Elias Cepeda

There are two high-level and well known international MMA fighters competing on the June 9th Metamoris II card. One is Shinya Aoki, who takes on Kron Gracie in the main event.

Metamoris is a unique submission grappling event filled entirely with super-fights. No points are counted, the matches are twice as long as usual grappling competitions, and the only way to win is by submitting your opponent. Aoki, largely known as one of the most dangerous ground specialists in MMA, is a perfectly logical cross-over guy to bring in to Metamoris.

The other famous MMA fighter on the card is TUF 10 runner-up Brendan Schaub, and his placement doesn’t make nearly as much sense at first glance. Because of his success in the UFC, Schaub is surely one of the most well-known competitors on the card, however, none of the former college and professional football player’s MMA wins have come via submission. He’s young in the sport and is certainly not considered to be one of the best grapplers in the heavyweight division, let alone the UFC.

No, most of Schaub’s success has been achieved in the standup department, by knocking his opponents out silly, not by relying on “the gentle art.” But to the former TUF finalist, competing at Metamoris II against top Jiu Jitsu and submission grappling champion Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu no less makes all the sense in the world.

“A lot of people don’t know this,” Schaub tells CagePotato. “But, Jiu Jitsu is my passion. It was the first real thing I did in martial arts. For me, competing at Metamoris is a way for me to give back to Jiu Jitsu for all it’s done for me. Jiu Jitsu has changed my life.”

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Legendary Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Instructor Robert Drysdale Signs With UFC, Debuts at UFC 163

Huge news out of Las Vegas today, as it has been announced that legendary BJJ instructor turned MMA fighter Robert Drysdale has signed with the UFC and will make his promotional debut against Ednaldo Oliveira at UFC 163: Aldo vs. Pettis.

A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt who holds over 90 tournament titles to his credit — including an ADCC Absolute Division championship in 2007, video here – Drysdale has tutored such UFC veterans as Forrest Griffin and Dan Hardy in the art of ground fighting (or as Bob Arum calls it “homosexual skinhead rolling-about“). Since making the transition from the mat to the cage in 2010, Drysdale has submitted six straight opponents, such as TUF 3‘s Mike Nickels and Bellator vet D.J. Linderman (a.k.a the guy who Anthony Johnson planked at WSOF 1), inside the first round.

For his big debut, Drysdale will face Brazilian slugger Ednaldo Oliveira, who hasn’t competed in the UFC since being strangled out in Gabriel Gonzaga’s first post-unretirement UFC bout at UFC 142. Prior to his own debut, however, “Lula Molusco” — which if my Portuguese is correct means “Lady Mollusk” — was also undefeated, collecting 8 TKO’s in 12 contests.

Featuring a light heavyweight sure-to-be…uh…barnraiser? (lunker?) between Lyoto Machida and Phil Davis as well as the return of Thales Leites (please, CONTAIN YOUR EXCITEMENT), UFC 163 goes down on August 3rd at the HSBC Arena in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

-J. Jones

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[EXCLUSIVE] Metamoris II Headliner Kron Gracie Carries on Family Legacy


(Kron & Rickson Gracie | Photo via Moskova)

By Elias Cepeda

How do you ask a grown man to talk about a time you saw him cry? It can’t be easy, and maybe it’s not even polite. Surely an interviewer can think of other questions to ask someone — especially a fighter.

Unfortunately, in the day or so before speaking with Kron Gracie, that was the main thing I could think to ask, and to ask first. To be clear, I saw Kron cry when he was still a child, and then only from a distance.

Maybe I was mistaken and he wasn’t even truly crying.

Yeah, maybe that’s how you ask a man to talk about it — tepidly and with plenty of qualification. Probably not, but that’s how I broached the subject with the man.

It was the summer of 2000. Rickson Gracie, the champion of his family, was hosting an international Jiu Jitsu invitational. There were tournaments for every experience and ability level, as well as famous champions competing in super matches as well as milling around the arena as a part of the crowd.

And then there was little Kron Gracie. He had to have been just eleven or twelve.

Kron presumably could have chosen to enjoy the whole event as a child — that is, running around with family and friends, playing. Instead, he was in a gi and on the mats.

Kron’s older sisters were pretty and did fun demonstrations with their father. Kron’s older brother, Rockson, walked around the tournament with his head shaved, tattooed and an air of seriousness, the obvious heir apparent to Rickson Gracie’s fighting legacy.

Whatever pressures his siblings surely felt, Kron was the one on the mats that day, competing.

Kron competed that day and, when I saw him, he had just lost.

It couldn’t have been easy, and Rickson’s youngest child was visibly upset. Losing is never fun but when everyone is watching you because your dad is the best fighter in fighting’s first family, it has to be miserable. Rickson, walked over to Kron, put his arms around him and consoled his young son.

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CagePotato Exclusive Interview: ‘Mini Megaton’ Mackenzie Dern Looks to Make Her Mark at Metamoris II


(Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt Competitor Mackenzie Dern | Photo GracieMag)

By Elias Cepeda

[Ed. note: This is the second in a series of interviews with the fighters and promoters behind Metamoris II: Gracie vs. Aoki, which goes down June 9th in Los Angeles. Stay tuned for more, and follow Metamoris on Facebook and Twitter for important event updates. You can purchase tickets right here.]

I’ve got two stories about Rickson and Royler Gracie black belt Wellington “Megaton” Dias. One is a first-hand story and the other was passed on to me through others in the gym when I was growing up. Both are short and teach a simple lesson – “Megaton” is a skilled, mean, junkyard dog.

During the summer of 2000, I went to Los Angeles to watch the second Rickson Gracie International Jiu Jitsu Invitational. There were tournaments for all belt levels as well as “super fights” between black belt stars of the day. Dias took part in one of those featured bouts against another black belt. It is just as well that I don’t remember his opponent’s name because I’m sure he doesn’t enjoy this story being told. In short, Dias made that other elite black belt look like an amateur - putting him on his back, keeping him there, and basically toying with the guy from mount for the majority of the scrap. In short, it kinda looked like this. It was almost a worse way of losing than getting submitted in ten seconds. Dias dominated his nameless opponent for an entire match. Dias’ display is still the best single argument for a slaughter rule in Jiu Jitsu matches that I’ve ever seen.

The second-hand story I know of “Megaton” goes roughly like this; the Brazilian was brought to a Midwest town to conduct a Jiu Jitsu seminar — the timeframe escapes me. The people who paid the seminar fee more than likely did so because of Dias’ renowned skills, in hopes that the Professor would teach them some tricks. How wrong they were.

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[VIDEO] Benson Henderson Competes at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Pan-Am Championships


(Video by Budo Videos)

Last week, UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson was just one month away from a nationally televised title defense against Gilbert Melendez, but he still managed to get in a couple Jiu Jitsu matches in one of the world’s most prestigious grappling tournaments. Henderson competed in the brown belt ability division of the BJJ Pan-Am Championships last week and, though he was eventually eliminated and did not place, he showed that he could hang with guys who spend all of their time training in BJJ’s weird set of gi rules, despite doing it just as a hobby.

In the above match, Henderson takes on Brazilian Pedro Alcantara in the middleweight division. The action comes in spurts but the match is very closely contested with Alcantara threatening with omo-plata shoulder locks and sweeps off of his back, and Henderson defending, working for take downs and passing guard.

The two start the match feinting with shot attempts before Alcantara pulls full guard. It doesn’t take him long to pull in Henderson’s right shoulder and work for triangle chokes, which the fighter shrugs off, and then shoulder locks. Initially, Alcantara is able to use the lock to sweep Henderson, earning points.

Henderson hangs tough and refuses to let Alcantara pass his guard. Eventually, Henderson is able to stand up and score a take down. On the ground, he proves better at passing than Alcantara was and pressures and angles until he secures the side mount and earns more points.

Recovering his guard, Alcantara threatens more with the shoulder lock, but this time Henderson will not be moved, and effectively stops both the submission and sweep attempts. The match ends and Henderson has won on points.

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