Chris “Cabecao” Moriarty Interview

Cabecao came in late to class, would fart, burp and sing before sparring and gave the impression that he really didnt take BJJ seriously.In August of 2003 I visited Romero Jacares powerhouse academy in Atlanta Georgia. I was there for a Leo Vieira seminar as well to see my friend Jeff Joslin fight an MMA fight.

Jacares team has always been extremely friendly and welcoming. The academy has produced some great fighters in the U.S. such as Jason Miller, Paul Creiton, Phillip Smith, Ryan Ellison, Bull Shaw, Jeff Joslin,Raphael Assunacao and more

Upon this visit I first met Chris Moriarty “Cabecao”. Cabecao came in late to class, would fart, burp and sing before sparring and gave the impression that he really didnt take BJJ seriously. Little did I know he was the next big star to emerge from the team and would later become one of the U.S.’ top grapplers.

Chris competes more than anyone I know and has a very strong submission oriented game that has allowed him to catch some of the U.S. and Brazils top dawgs in No-GI and Gi grappling tournaments.

Will he be the next big name to emerge from the Alliance team and shine like those before him such as Leozinho, Gurgel or Comprido, who knows, but I know for sure he’s on the right path!

Chris recently just came back from Brazil where he fought in the Copa do Mundo and Mundials placing Bronze 3 times than returning to the U.S. soon there after and dominated the World Gracie Championships. Thats a busy month for a gringo!

1) WHAT GOT YOU STARTED IN BJJ AND WHEN DID YOU START TRAINING?-I started training in January 2002. the ufc got me into it. I think like a lot of people that got into bjj, I wasn’t good at very much in terms of sports and I wanted to be able to say that I could kick people’s asses.

2)WHO DID YOU TRAIN WITH AND WHO DO YOU TRAIN WITH NOW?-I started with romero jacare and trained with him for about 5 months before going to college in Dayton ohio. There I trained with Jorge gurgel for about 8 months until I came home to get the hell out of ohio. Jorge gave me my purple belt. Since then, I moved back to Atlanta and am training again with jacare.

3) GO OR NO-GI AND WHY?I love the gi. It is so much easier for me to be creative with the gi because you can slow the game down and try out moves. I am the type of person that If I am using the same submission all the time or the same series of moves, I get frustrated. So being able to slow the game down and try new things is realty important to me.

4)IN YOUR OPINION, WHOS THE TOP GI FIGHTER AND NO-GI FIGHTER?-Roger gracie no question with the gi. No gi I would have to say Marcello Garcia. i really love roger’s game, but I think that he can be outwrestled and that his bottom game doesn’t translate as well to submission wrestling as marcello’s. 5) HOW OFTEN DO YOU TRAIN BJJ?-I train 4 maybe 5 times a week. Only once a day.

6)DO YOU BELIEVE IN HAVING A SET STRATEGY IN EACH FIGHT OR DO YOU FLOW WITH THE GO?-I like to have an idea about whether I am going to try to go on top or on bottom. Once the game hits the ground though, I pretty much just start flowing.

7) BIGGEST JIU-JITSU ACCOMPLISHMENT/MEMORY? -Actually my favorite moment is kind of unusual considering that it is not my biggest win. I was fighting in james clingerman’s tournament in Indiana against a tough guy named eric Shaffer (I think he just fought in the ufc actually). Right off the bat he caught me in a kimura from the closed guard and made me roll him directly into mount on me in order to avoid tapping. He later caught my back when I attempted to bridge him off of me. Somehow I was able to escape, pass his guard, take his back and choke him with about 30 seconds left. That let me know that not only do I have offense, but that I also have composure in bad situations.

8)WPRST MOMENT IN YOUR COMPETITION HISTORY? -Anytime I psyche myself out or let my opponent get into my head.

9)TOUGHEST OPPONENT IN THE U.S. OR BRAZIL?-Lovato is a tough son of a bitch to fight against. He has a long reach like me and keeps distance really well on bottom. There was one guy that I fought at the copa do mundo that was a fucking cardio machine from TT. No idea what his name is. I beat him with a mount but he was all over me the whole match. all I can say is I am just glad that TT is now alliance.

10) HOW HARD IS IT TO BE COMPETING IN TOURNAMENTS AS MUCH AS YOU DO? -It used to be really financially difficult. Now that I know some people in the sport and am winning pro divisions here and there, it is becoming much easier.

11)WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 5 YEARS?STILL INVOLVED IN BJJ?-I will always be involved in bjj in one way or another. I am a bjj nerd for sure. But I always wanted to be a doctor. I am just finishing up my undergrad. when I am done, I am going to take a break to just train and compete for a few years. When I feel like I have accomplished everything I want to in grappling, I want go to medical school.

12) WHO WOULD YOU LOE TO REMATCH OR FIGHT AGAIN OR JUST HAVE A CHANCE TO FIGHT, OTHER THAN DANIEL MORAES?-Lovato for sure. He is awesome and has so much experience. We both have very similar games. The first time we fought, he played smart and got me thinking he was going to pull guard. He stayed on the feet for most of the match and got an advantage for a close sweep when he finally sat. I have a strategy for the next time we grapple (hopefully at the adcc trials).

13)WHATS YOUR SECRET TO GRAPPLING SUCCESS?-I think what makes me different is I really get mad at myself when during training I start relying on the same stuff all the time. I get bored really easily and am constantly trying to reinvent my game. To do this I watch a lot of tournament videos (OTM plug here) and just try to see what the top guys do from the positions I am curious about.

14)DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF A TALENTED AND GIFTED FIGHTER OR SOMEONE WHO PUT THE TIME IN AND HARD WORK AND YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS ARE THE RESULT OF THIS?-Both. I think that I have a mind that is compatible with bjj and allows me to pick up techniques quickly, but then again I have never taken more than a week off training in the 4 and a half years since I started.

15) WHAT OTHER TALENTS DO YOU HAVE BESIDES JIU-JITSU?- (Ha Ha Ha) You must mean my special talent. If you see me at a tournament, just ask and I will show you.


17) WHATS A DAY IN THE LIFE OF CABECAO LIKE?-Daily routine I usually have to get up and go to school by about 9am. Depending on what day it is, I might lift weights at around noon and then go back to class until like 3 or 4. I usually study or read until it is time to train at 7:30. when training is done, I go home and watch some tournament videos until I get aroused enough to go beat off. Then it is bed time.

18) HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR COMPETITIONS BOTH PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY?-I am a big believer in lifting weights. I like to do really intense circuits like twice a week that are about the length of a match for a month to a month and a half before a tournament. I might run once a week, but most of the endurance training I do involves manipulating the way that I roll on the mat (for example: train back to back rounds with fresh training partners for 4 minutes each).

19) FAVOURITE TYOE OF WOMAN?AMERICAN.LATINA.BRAZILIAN.ORIENTAL?-I like flavor man. I am just really bored with the typical sorority girl look that I see being at college all the time. I can really enjoy a woman with some color.

20)WHAT HAPPENEDTO YOU IN BRAZIL THIS YEAR?YOU PLACED BRONZE 3 TIMES IN THE COPA DO MUNDO AND MUNDIALS.WHAT WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE LIKE? -It was eye opening. I mean I have had a lot of success here in the states, but people were always telling me how different it was going to be and that the game is at another level over there. So when I placed in the absolute at the copa do mundo (my first division in Brazil), I was kinda like, you know what, my game works just as well over here. It gave me a lot of confidence. Jacare helped a lot too. Just having him in my corner gave me so much confidence because he has coached so many top level guys. When he told me that I could do well, I really started to believe in my ability.

21)WHO GAVE YOU THE APPELIDO “CABECAO”? -Jacare of course. He loves nicknames.

WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO THANK FOR YOUR SUCCESS? -I want to thank my instructor, Romero Jacare; Roberto Traven; all the guys from Jorge gurgel’s school in ohio: jon, bobby, mike, billy, nick, and of course Jorge; gumby and Scotty; brian cimins; ed clay and gameness; and all my training partners at Alliance.

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Riccardo Ammendolia