Interview with Carson Gracie Team Head coach Manimal

Main head-coach of Carlson Gracie Team in Brazil comments about the latest matches of his representatives and how he’s developing a good team to put the Carlson’s flag in the place it deserved. The top!Main head-coach of Carlson Gracie Team in Brazil comments about the latest matches of his representatives and how he’s developing a good team to put the Carlson’s flag in the place it deserved. The top!

Take a look in what Manimal said to crew in the lines below.

DENIS MARTINS: You had two fighters competing in that April 8’s event(Juiz de Fora-Fight 3). How did you see their performance there?

MANIMAL: I believe those performances of my fighters (Pedro Santos and Carlos Eduardo Santos) were extraordinary, even only one of them (Pedro) won a bout. We observed a weird outcome in the fight of Carlos, when his opponent (Caca) sunk an armbar and Carlos managed the escape of it. However the referee interpreted that Carlos was in trouble and could have had his arm broken, so he stopped the contest. Pedro had in front of him one of my ex-students in the period of Carlson Team, Gabriel Santos of BTT. This guy was always an example of a determined fighter when he was under my tutelage in Carlson’s academy during 10 years. The fight involving these two guys was very balanced and tough. But Pedro got to develop a better strategy in R3 and took the unanimous decision. This was a great award to Pedro who got to overcome a fighter who competed and won at Cage Rage in England and has several awards in BJJ and submission competitions. DM: That fight was the first time Carlson Team met BTT in a MMA competition. Did you take that fight by the rivalry?

MANIMAL: Absolutely not! I can’t give any prop to this kind of rivalry. I meant, Master Carlson Sr. stayed in last years ‘feeding’ this rivalry against BTT, and I ask you, what did he get with this attitude? Anything; I answer you. Carlson Sr. with this he forgot his team and his students here in Brazil, and dedicated himself at bashing BTT fighters. I think Carlson Team didn’t gain anything with that potential aggressive rivalry acquired against BTT. I don’t want this; I want to beat all academies. This doesn’t matter if it was BTT or others. We need to prove inside the ring, and this will be what we will follow here in my academy. That opportunity of fighting “with” (and not against) BTT was fantastic for us. In my opinion Carlson was represented by both athletes on that fight.

DM: Carlson Sr. passed away in February 1st, so are you going to be the main Carlson Team’s head-coach now?

MANIMAL: I don’t know if I can say this for you now, because Carlson Gracie Team has a lot of black-belts and I don’t think any of us have how to take this responsibility without a big meeting. However I can talk to you I’m the head-coach of Carlson Gracie Team MMA. I’m the only guy who’s making a MMA project under Carlson’s banner in Brazil. Of course the results we had in BJJ competitions were good too, and this gives us good position comparing with the other Carlson Team academies in Brazil. I’m not ducking the other representatives, but we competed a lot in BJJ and submission tournaments, and this fact placed us in evidence. DM: Was this your choice? To focus your job in MMA instead BJJ?

MANIMAL: Well, I guess it was natural. I came from a background focused in Vale Tudo before my entrance in BJJ community. I trained Capoeira, Karate and Luta-Livre when I was a kid, so I was used in punching and kicking. When I joined everything I had with my 30 years of experience in BJJ, the result was a little more focus in MMA than BJJ. DM: You talked about little more MMA than BJJ. But I think it is huge than you think. Do you have any explanation of the why fans think you’re much more MMA than BJJ?

MANIMAL: Maybe it’s because I coached nearly all Carlson team fighters in Vale Tudo events in decades of 80 and 90. I prepared Jorge “Navalhada” Magalhaes to pump ChuteBoxer CYBORG in 2001, and Carlos Baruch to start his career in MMA. So I think this is the reason, I’m intensifying the MMA training to represent the Carlson Team’s flag! DM: This is a good question… …you have a reasonable known name in fight community, so didn’t you think on starting your own team?

MANIMAL: I don’t see the necessity, this is the Carlson Gracie Team. Carlson Sr. had a dream of forming a new army, I’m following his dream to make it comes true. I think we’re in right way. Everything is done in memory of Carlson! DM: When I saw you coaching the latest MMA fights of Carlson Team, I realized how similar to Carlson Sr you are (in all aspects). Has anyone ever told you that?

MANIMAL:[laughs] Yes, they did. I lived together with Carlson Sr for a long time. This is not for anyone, this was a honor to have him at my side. I didn’t expect his death, for me it was disaster and people feared I’d not take it well. I had to balance my life after the blow of Carlson’s death and I’m here defending Carlson Gracie’s name. DM: How will be the relationship with the Carlson Gracie students in USA?

MANIMAL: I hope they can come here and establish contact to us. I’ve no conditions of traveling to USA to make this. I’ve several things to take care with my family. My mother is 60 years old and she needs special cares. Plus all fighters here depend of me. Besides the managing of book them to fight, I try to put them to teach Martial Arts in academies to gain some money. So man to make Carlson Team-USA and Carlson Team-Brazil to stay in touch all the time is something that needs a special care too. TUF 1 runner-up Stephen Bonnar stayed here in 2003, and Miguel Torres came here twice, and he’ll come again soon. I hope he can start this contact and make an exchange of techniques and fighters between the two teams, which in reality are only one. DM: Talking again about Pedro Santos, once you told me you’d like to make him fighting ala Chuck Liddell does. Do you think Pedro already reach this style?

MANIMAL: Pedro is a very disciplined fighter in the pre trainings for a MMA fight. He doesn’t discuss anything he just follows whatever you demand to him. In that fight against Gabriel; Pedro knew that he couldn’t expend much gas early on the fight, because Gabriel over-weighted him in more than 5kgs after the weigh-ins. Plus Gabriel is an excellent grappler and would took Pedro down. Pedro managed well the situations, and I think in a short time he’ll reach his potential. DM: I knew Pedro wasn’t a full-time fighter in the past; however you turned it for him. Was this one of the reason of his improving on the trainings and on the fights?

MANIMAL: He was a waiter, with low money and low conditions of training and dedication to the fightworld. Now he has a sponsor (gotten by Joao Batista) and he can dedicate himself only to fight-competitions. His time is coming… DM: Thank you very much for your time. Would you like to leave a final message?

MANIMAL: New faces will arise under Carlson Team’s banner. We’ve Ivan Batman who’s undefeated in MMA, Carlos Eduardo Santos will return hungry for a victory and I hope we’ve opportunities to show our job. I’d like to say that people can be confident in our job, because we train toughly and we’re ready for any challenge. CARLSON GRACIE TEAM FOREVER!

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Denis Martins