he Arnold/Gracie classic was an awesome tournament to compete in back in the day. A 6 hour drive to Columbus, Ohio gave us a chance to compete against some of North America’s (& some of South America’s) toughest competitors.
I think this picture was taken in 2003 when I competed as a Brown Belt. I won my weight division after some great battles then I went against the winner of one division heavier than me –a kind of mini super fight for $500 U.S dollars! Oh man, i wanted to win the money so bad –i was broke lol– but my opponent had different plans. I got caught in a triangle choke within the first minute of the match and had to tap out. I lost the money! but made a new friend in Robin Gieseler (nice choke brotha!).
Later in the day, they ran the Brown Belt Absolute (all weights) division and I managed to take home the Gold (pictured above) after some tough matches. I anticipated a match against Rafael Lovato Jr. –who was also a Brown belt at the time– but I think he had to leave before the absolute division started. Would have been an honour to have been matched up with the future BJJ legend.
The following year I competed against tough Brazilian competitors Pedro Elias and Tarsis Humphreys. I’m very thankful for the great memories and tough challenges at the Arnold/Gracie BJJ Open. Good times!