Rarely does there seem to be a lack of drama out west at Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Most recently, the camp’s outspoken owner Cesar Gracie made headlines when he publicly fired one of his coaches, multi-time world jiu-jitsu champion Caio Terra, for assisting Carlos Condit in advance of UFC 154.
Condit, of course, is public enemy No. 1 at Gracie Jiu-Jitsu following his controversial fight with Nick Diaz, and Gracie viewed Terra’s decision as the ultimate act of betrayal. For his part, Terra seemed to take the public fireworks in stride, explaining that while he tried not to step on anyone’s toes and still felt he “did the right thing,” he did not begrudge anyone at the Gracie camp for the unceremonious parting.
Appearing on this week’s edition of The MMA Hour, Gracie listened to audio of Terra’s explanation before offering his response.
“He must be happy, because this is literally the most publicity he’s ever received,” Gracie remarked. “He a jiu-jitsu guy, he doesn’t have any kind of MMA anything.
“Being the champ at 125 (pounds) with the gi pretty much makes him a formidable force at a teenage girls’ pajama party, or something like that. It’s not a loss to us whatsoever in the MMA scene. Honestly, he’d never won anything before he came on our team, so he should be thankful. You know, people like that, they here come from Brazil, they’re a dime a dozen down there. Trust me. They’re all over the place, these little dudes running around and they’re pretty good at jiu-jitsu. He comes out here in what, 2007, 2008, something like that, and he’s won all his world championships since he’s been on the team. And his first opportunity, he goes and does something stupid like that.”
Grace, who admitted he didn’t expect the story to blow up the way it did, went on to compare the situation through the lens of a professional football team.
“You’re one of the owners of the Buffalo Bills, or whatever, and you find out the Buffalo Bills’ coach is going to another team to train them and give them the playbook,” he explained. “What happens to him? What does the Buffalo Bills’ owner do when he finds out one of his coaches is going to go do that? Guess what? He’s terminated. He’s immediately terminated and there’s not even a discussion.”
The practice of fighters and coaches journeying from their home base to temporarily train with a new camp is common in mixed martial arts, and Gracie explained that his team is no different. Both Nick and Nate Diaz have spent time elsewhere, as has Jake Shields, who recently spent extensive time training in Florida with Rashad Evans’ Blackzilians squad. All of this is par for the course, said Gracie, but you have to draw the line somewhere.
“It doesn’t make us bad people, but we’ve got to terminate people like that,” he explained. “We want people that we can rely on. And honestly, I’ll be honest with you, this particular situation, it’s not something that I’m that upset about. If we wanted Condit to lose a fight, we would send him Caio Terra. I’ll tell you why, that’s not even a dig. Caio Terra doesn’t understand anything about MMA. He’s never done any training for it or anything. You can not win a fight with the IBJJ jiu-jitsu rules.
“Condit would have done much better, he did great by the way, but he would’ve done much better had he just listened to his other coaches, (Mike) Winkeljohn and those guys, and not sat there and tried to set up some complex submission attempt from the bottom while he was getting punched in the face. That’s what lost him the fight, really.”
Ultimately, Gracie emphasized that he was not personally offended by Terra’s judgment. Simply put, the decision to fire the Brazilian was made as a matter of principle.
“We’re a tight team,” Gracie concluded. “We treat people with a lot of respect here. We give people opportunities that they’ve never had in their lives and we’re happy to do it, but the minute someone turns around and does this, [it's over].
“I heard [Terra say], ‘The Diaz brothers didn’t call me.’ It’s like, dude, what? Who are you? You’re promoting the Diaz’s and Jake Shields? No, they promoted you. They went on YouTube and helped you out with your videos. They did all this stuff for you to make a name for yourself. They taught you the leglock game because you were getting tapped out all the time when you got down here, and now you’re winning these tournaments and everything because of training with guys like the Diaz’s. And the first opportunity [you get], you give him a little bit of money, you put a camera in his face, the guy’s got like a Napoleon complex, and bam, all of a sudden it’s like, ‘Oh, I’m in the news. I’m with Ariel Helwani talking about it. Cesar’s pissed.’ I’ve turned the page, man. I’ve already replaced the guy. I’ve got better people in already. It’s nothing, so if we can get past [it], get over it, whatever, that’s it.”
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