POST MUNDIALS 2006 INTERVIEW: LEVE CHAMPION, CELSO VINICIUS OF GRACIE BARRA The two time leve (lightweight) champion Celso Vinicius of Gracie Barra was caught by us for an interview after his second consecutive Mundials championship. Vinicius, a pupil of Roberto “Gordo” Correa told us about his experience in this Mundial, a bit about his beginning in BJJ and about his future at MMA competitions. DENIS MARTINS: How long have you trained BJJ?
CELSO VINICIUS: I have trained BJJ since middle of 1998 andI’m graduated black-belt since 2004.
DM: Why did you look for BJJ?
CV: I started on it due to the MMA; I watched the BJJ overcoming the other Martial Arts- even when the opponent was stronger- the BJJers got to control the actions with a lot of technique. So I looked for BJJ for this reason. DM: Did you family support you when you started?
CV: I started on it only as a sport- at my beginning it was the same if I had looked for soccer or another sport. But when I started the trainings; I started the competitions well as. And my performances at the events were good, so I took this stuff seriously. When I finished the college, I talked to my parents that I wanted to follow a BJJ career and they almost killed me because they wanted me to go to the University. But in my opinion we need to know what we want to; and I want to follow the BJJ. I know I don’t get huge money at BJJ, but I feel pleasure with being at this game.
DM: Did you start on BJJ to be a competitor or only to have fun at a sport?
CV: I’m a competitor in my normal day of life, I mean I want to be the best in whatever I do. So in BJJ it’d not be different; Roberto “Gordo” Correa was my instructor and in his academy there were a lot of competitors, so I wanted to follow them. They were performing very-well, so this was automatic for me. I competed first and I won, so I loved that and I’m a competitor. Nowadays I consider myself a professional fighter because I live from the fights (competing and teaching)- that adrenaline of the Mundials of BJJ is amazing!
DM: You captured two Mundials medals in black-belt(’05-’06), so tell us your other important awards.
CV: I won Mundials 2004 in brown-belt, and Gordo gave me the black-belt on the podium. I have 5 Mundials awards and one third place. I’ve 4 Brasileiro championships and 3 state of Rio de JaneiroChampionship. DM: You’ve an important submission wrestling award too. What can you tell us about that experience?
CV: I fought between the adults in AUDICOM. This event was one of the best and I was kid with 16 years old. I fought against the phenom Tiago Fernandes(rip) and he was a superb black-belt while I was juvenile blue-belt. We fought for 20 minutes, and the organization resolved to give the 1st award place for us. I think a lot of people gave more spotlights after that fight due to the environment of that fight. I weighed 10kgs less than the competitors and I was a juvenile fighter between the adults. I had awards in my category, but they were juvenile ones, so that title at AUDIOCOM represented a lot to me. DM: How do you compare your Mundials of 2005 with this one in 2006?
CV: People asked me about it, because I had better scores this year than last year, so the answer would be: -“2005 was easiest”. However this is not true, when we’re black-belts there’s not easy fights. I overcame Mario Reis on the finals by 5-0, and I had chances of submitting him. I didn’t give him gaps, because he’s dangerous fighter and he can turn situations. And then all awards were tough to be conquered.
DM: This was the third time you fought Reis. What can you mention about the other two fights?
CV: I lost to him in purple-belt in a very controversial fight where I lost by one advantage. I beat him by 9-0 in a fight where the referee didn’t score a guard passage. I fought this time against him with a focus on my intention of capturing for the second consecutive time a Mundial Championship.
DM: I didn’t watch all of your fights at Mundials. So did you have troubles in any of them?
CV: Well at my first fight against Ninja I beat him by 2-0 in a balanced match. But I guess this was due of the fact of it has been the first fight and Ninja stalled the fight by illegal positions such astriangle on my knee, this is an illegal position and the referee told me if I had screamed in pain he’d stop the fight. But I’d not do it, so in my opinion I didn’t fight well and I had a deal of submitting him quickly, because I had more one fight to be done in the first day of the black-belts competition. So I think that the factor around my performance in the first fight turned it to one of the toughest fights I had, but not due to the level of my opponent, but by the atmosphere created. You see, what I mentioned to you before, this was a black-belt match and I tried to choke him out once, this move didn’t work and he got the mount on me- but like the submission was sunk, the points weren’t scored. There’s not easy fight at black-belt. DM: How will be your career after this Mundials?
CV: I think I got what I wanted in BJJ, I got 5 World titles – 2 in black-belts – and my name is recognized in this game. My deal was always to be Mundials black-belt champion, and I got this in last year. However I realized that I needed to prove I was real good at winning for a second time this tournament. I trained a lot and I got it again in 2006. So my intention now is to compete in a MMA event, I’m joining the MMA team of Gracie Barra – the Gracie Barra Combat Team – and lets see how I’ll perform onthe trainings. I expect a hell of training and it will make me increase a lot like a fighter. I want to step in a MMA ring later this year.
DM: Thanks for your time Celso, would you like to add anything else?
CV: First of all, I’d like to thank my master Roberto “Gordo” Correa; I’m his pupil and I am very thankful to him. He is my instructor and my friend, and he always believed in my potential. Thanks to Marcelo from ATAMA gis, he supports me a lot with his sponsoring, and Diego of Guarana Mix. And final thanks to my friends from Portal do Bosque and my students. These guys are amazing and they are always on the audience of the event I fight, rooting for me.