Legends from all generations of Brazilian MMA were present at two separate launching ceremonies of “From Vale Tudo to MMA, 100 Years of History,” a book in which co-authors Marcelo Alonso and Susumu Nagao attempt to capture the history of the sport through text and pictures. The book was made in a partnership between COMBATE channel and PVT, owned by Sherdog.com correspondents Alonso and Gleidson Venga.
The work covers a variety of topics including the first three generations of the Gracie family, the rivalry between Luta Livre and Jiu-Jitsu, the early days of the UFC, the Pride Fighting Championships era and modern stars such as Anderson Silva, Georges St. Pierre, Jose Aldo and Jon Jones.
The first launch event was held in FNAC library in São Paulo and was attended by stars such as Demian Maia, Fabio Gurgel, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Fabricio Werdum. The two opposing coaches for the upcoming season of “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil” narrowly missed crossing paths at the ceremony.
"I´m really impressed, not only by the excellent printing quality of this book, but also with the amazing job they did collecting images of the past. I´m proud to be part of this history," said Werdum as he showed off the pictures displaying his 2006 bout against Nogueira in Pride.
Shortly after Werdum left, “Minotauro” entered the library, causing some confusion in the line where dozen of fans were organized to get autographs from the authors.
"Nagao and Alonso are two pioneers of MMA journalism. I was in an autograph section seated by UFC in a shopping mall, but I left everything to come here and get my book. Alonso did the first report with me and Nagao followed my entire career closely from ringside in the Pride era," Nogueira said, analyzing his pictures with Bob Sapp and Mirko Filipovic in the book.
Meanwhile, the Rio de Janeiro launch event was attended by fewer celebrities but featured more legends of the sport such as Joao Alberto Barreto, Hélio Gracie’s star student and one of the first referees in the UFC.
"Many people today forgot about how MMA started with the old Vale Tudo in the begining of the century,” Barreto said. “This book will make the fans recognize the big names that started this story like Carlos, Hélio, Carlson, Rickson [Gracie] and many other heroes who had a big role in this century’s history."
Eugenio Tadeu, leader of Luta Livre and one of the most respected opponents of jiu-jitsu on the ‘80s and ‘90s, was also pleased with what he saw.
"Today we see fighters making millions. In our time we fought for honor or to defend our philosophy. This book has a great importance because it tells the whole history, showing amazing pictures of all generations," Tadeu said.
Soon to be on opposite sides of the Octagon at UFC 156, Antonio Rogério Nogueira and Mario Sperry [coach of Rashad Evans] had a long conversation while looking at the book.
"It´s always good to remember the Pride Era. This is one of my favorite chapters of this book," Sperry said.
At the end of the event, Nagao was really happy with the result.
"I´m so happy to have the opportunity to come from Japan and to meet so many friends and legends that made up this sport. I can say that these ceremonies were the best moments of my entire career,” Susumu said.
Soon “From Vale Tudo to MMA, 100 Years of History” will be sold in Sherdog.com store. Stay tuned.