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Sunday, May 21, 2000

Ifc Gets “the Last Word” On Tuesday

IFC Gets "The Last Word" On Tuesday
By Jeffrey Thaler

The sport of Mixed Martial Arts will get some well deserved attention from the mainstream media on Tuesday May 23rd when International Fighting Championships Commissioner Paul Smith and fighter John Lewis appear on the Fox Sports Network television show "The Last Word" with Jim Rome. Smith and Lewis will debate the legitimacy of mixed martial arts with Lawrence Mandelker, an attorney for the New York State Athletic Commission. Mandelker is the man who shut down the Ultimate Fighting Championship and Extreme Fighting shows in New York three years ago.

Smith and Lewis both reported that the show, which was taped on May 13th, went well. But, neither saw Rome tape his final comments, so you will have to tune into the show to get Rome’s take on mixed martial arts. Check your local listings for the time and channel. Be sure not to miss the biggest exposure the sport has received in years!

Jeffrey Thaler can be contacted at whaledog@grapplers.com

What Ever Happened To Rodrigo Gracie,
The 1998 Abu Dhabi Submission Wrestling Champion?

By Chris Onzuka

At the inaugural event of the Abu Dhabi Submission Wrestling Championships, the Gracie name was prominent in several of the top honors. Robin Gracie, the youngest of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Grandmaster Professor Helio Gracie, had to settle for second place in the under 65 kg. class. The most active member of the Gracie family in NHB, Renzo Gracie won the 66-76 kg. class. The 77-87 kg. class was won by a relatively unknown Gracie family member, Rodrigo Gracie. After earning this impressive title, Rodrigo went out of the spotlight until just recently. He recently won a submission grappling match against the self-proclaimed "Prince of Leg Locks" Robert Ferguson. How could someone come out of nowhere, win such a prestigious title, then disappear for over two years, only to reappear in a relatively low-key grappling match? Well, I asked myself the same thing. I found that Rodrigo has been training and teaching at his cousin Renzo’s academy in New York, so I got a hold of him and asked him where he’s been all this time. This is an excerpt from an interview which will be featured in the June issue of Full Contact Fighter.

FCF:  What are you currently doing? Teaching or just training for matches?
RG:   Yeah, I usually teach in the mornings or when Renzo is away. And I am training also. Right now, I am training very hard. I am doing kickboxing right now and trying to combine it with Jiu-Jitsu. I am kickboxing with Ray Longo, in Long Island and I am training with Renzo in the city. I am training very hard because Renzo wants me to fight in Japan soon, so I have to do some kicking and punching.

FCF:  When do you plan on fighting?
RG:   Definitely this year. I stayed out for more than a year because of a knee problem. I had like two surgeries. I had a torn cartilage and so the doctor said that he wasn’t going to remove the cartilage. He was going to repair it, so they repaired it but it didn’t really work out. They did it again and then I had a lot of scar tissue on my knee. Right now, I have problems sitting on my heels. It’s stiff. After I train, I have to stretch sometimes to loosen up the knee. Right now, it’s much better. It’s not 100%, but it’s much better. That’s why I have not competed in Abu Dhabi. I competed in ’98 and won, but I didn’t compete in ’99 and 2000 because of my knee.

FCF:  You recently competed in a submission grappling competition against Robert Ferguson. How did that come about?
RG:   I haven’t competed for so long, so when I got in I was trying to take him down and get the feeling. He was using a lot of strength, so I was thinking that I am going to take the fight a little bit more standing and then I am going to try a takedown. If it doesn’t work, then I am going to be on the bottom and he’s going to be in my guard. I thought that if I pulled him into my guard that I would probably finish him a lot quicker, but I tried to take him down. It worked out well. After seven minutes, I got him. He’s a tough guy, strong. He hung in there, I respect him for that.

FCF:  Do you have any other matches coming up?
RG:   I am probably going to do something in August or September in Pride. In December, I want to do the tournament with Kipp Kollar, who’s organizing a tournament under 200 lbs. or over 200 lbs. or something. I don’t know. 2001, I am going to go to Abu Dhabi. Actually, I’m really looking forward to going to Abu Dhabi because everybody is talking about it.


posted by Full Contact Fighter @ 12:00 am
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