Romero “Jacare” Cavalcanti, founder of Alliance TeamBaleia-When did you start BJJ and with whom?
Jacare- I started to do Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu when I was 11 years old, with Aildo Gomes, that was the brother of the famous no holds barred fighter Ivan Gomes. And than I went to train with Rolls Gracie until I got my black belt.
Baleia-Can you talk a little bit about Rolls and his influence over your life?
Jacare-Well Rolls, was a very nice influence to my life, because the guy set the roll model for a generation. You know, we were doing a lot of you know wrong things on the street and he taught us jiu-jitsu and he was a great, great person and I owe everything I know to him.
Baleia-When and why did you start your own academy?
Jacare-I started my own academy in 1984. It was called Jacare jiu-jitsu. And than later on I got Fabio Gurgel as a partner in the famous Master Jiu-jitsu. And than in 1992 we decided to found the Alliance team.
Baleia-There have been two major events which occurred in BJJ this year,one contributing to the other. In regards to the new federation do you believe it is a positive thing or negative for the sport?
Jacare-Well, I think it is going to be hard now, for people to say who`s the world champion. You know because we have two different organizations you know. I don`t know if it`s going to be good or bad you know! The good part about it is the new federation is giving money to the black belts. So and that`s I think a good step, but the bad part is that it`s divided! Now we have strong teams on one side and strong teams on the other side you know. So, we have to wait for the future you know to say if it was good or bad for the sport!
Baleia-Do you support one federation more than the other?
Jacare-No I don`t. I support both federations because some of my fighters, they want to fight for money, and some of my fighters they want to fight, in the other federation. The guys from Fabio Gurgel, Alexandre Paiva, all of these guys they want to go with Carlos Gracie Jr. you know only! And the young generation they wanna go in the new federation because of the money.
Baleia-The Alliance Team had a bit of a split this year could you explain briefly what happened and why?
Jacare-Yeah, mainly because of that. Because you know, part of the team wanted to compete for money, in one federation and some of the instructors like Fabio Gurgel and Alexandre Paiva, didn`t agree with that. So, therefore we had a big fall. So were probably gonna have two teams now. One team is gonna be Fabio, Alexandre and some other guys. And the new guys Leozinho, Rodrigo Cumprido, Damian, and Terere. They`re gonna have a new team. I support both of these two teams, and I`m friends with everybody, but we`re gonna have 2 teams and I`m gonna be Godfather for both teams.
Baleia-Do you think this is a major setback for the Alliance?
Jacare-Well, you know only the future is gonna tell, because right now of course it`s gonna be a step back.Were gonna divide were gonna split. So part of the team is gonna compete for one organization you know the Alliance, and part of the team is gonna work for the another organization. They`re still trying to figure out the name of the new team. Somebody said the name “Extreme Jiu-Jitsu” but I don`t know we still have time until the Pan Ams to decide.
Baleia-In regards to your academy in Atlanta which you`ve run for the last 7 years could you give us the name of any up and coming fighters coming out of there?
Jacare-Well we have a new generation of fighters and I trust them a lot. Ryan Ellerson is gonna be on of the new guys! Eamon Culper whose only 16 years old is gonna be another one! I have some other guys like Magit like David, they wanna go into some no holds barred. My stepson Tavinho, he`s a lightweight. He`s probably gonna be good in a little while and I have some other guys that are gonna do good as well!
Baleia-You once said how good you thought Nino was, who do you think is the top dog in BJJ today?
Jacare-I thought Nino was a good guy like Fabio Gurgel, like Traven, like Jamelao, like some of my older fighters like Fernando Gurgel and some of them.. And the new generation now we have Leozinho his brother Ricardo, the Viera brothers, you know they are incredible!!! We have Rodrigo “Cumprido” Medeiros we have Terere, we have Damian Maia. We have a kid named Marcelinho who trains with Fabio Gurgel who`s doing very good. And we have a bunch of new guys who are gonna shine in a little while for sure!
Baleia-What do you think of the guy who`s bearing the same nickname as you, Jacare from Manaus?
Jacare-Oh from what I`ve saw him competing he`s an incredible fighter, very talented he`s got some nice, very nice moves and for sure he`s gonna do really good as a black belt!
Baleia-What do you think can be done in your opinion to help the growth of BJJ in North America or to solidify it in Brazil?
Jacare-Well, the main step was made, because now we have a lot of good coaches here around to teach Brazillian Jiu-jitsu. So I think we have all of the tools to have great, great guys here in a little while! We already have a few winning a lot of tournaments and I think its gonna get even better! The more people learn the BJJ the more it`s gonna spread, and I think its like a fever that`s catching everywhere!!!!