Now that the Athletic Commissions in the USA are involved in regulating MMA, and with great credit to the UFC, this really and truly has become a sport. It isn’t for the casual fan, but much of the history of the sport is certainly compelling and needs to be seen by the hardcores that are growing in number. We are lucky for the fact that there is a great deal of video of even the early days. Much is made of UFC 2, known as ‘The Night of Elbows’ but there was nothing more raw than Brazil’s IVC.
The International Vale Tudo Championships. Here is a complete fight on Youtube, for fans it features a 21 year old Vanderlei Silva, against a wrestler from the RAW team named Sean Bormet. Not suprisingly, we never saw Bormet again.
That is just one, the IVC catalog is a litany of violence.
I will tell one story here, though I had the opportunity to judge and corner fighters in the IVC many times.
I took a fighter named Henry Matamoros down there my first time. He prefererred to go with me, more of a manager type, to make sure he got paid and stuff so I was also serving as a corner man. His opponent was a guy named Rafael Cordeiro.
Some research will tell you that Rafael Cordeiro is one of the instructors from that era of Anderson Silva, Vanderlei Silva, ‘Shogun’ Rua, another incredibly tough guy named ‘Pele’ Landi and many more. This was the makings of a team of legends, that granted went there separate ways after, but at the time, Chute Boxe Curitiba, though unknown, had huge talent.
Henry is a tough, tough guy, but it was scary when an hour before the fight he gave me his mother’s phone number in case anything happened. But the fights that night were that brutal.
I’m grateful to Mark Coleman, who was there cornering Brandon Lee Hinkle, for coming to help in the corner with me. Coleman had already won a few UFC’s and was a legend in the making as well. Granted his advice to a Jiu Jitsu guy of ‘smash him in the head’ wasn’t much help, but his presence certainly was.
The fight was no gloves. It was 30 minutes straight, no rounds. Headbutts, of course. At the end, Matamoros lost a decision, but it was clear that with no time limit, he was going to wear Cordeiro out. He earned respect.
How do I know he earned respect? Some time later at a fight in Atlanta, Henry was there with me again, serving as his corner and manager. I turned around as we were about to go out to the cage, and ‘Pele’ and the other main Chute Boxe coach Rudimar had joined us. They told us we are going out with you we want Henry to win. I have to say among men, that was a fucking satisfying moment.
But let’s get back to Brazil. At the airport Henry and I had a few caipirnhas, the local firewater drink. I was asleep on the plane, and Henry went to the bathroom to check on his face which was swollen beyond belief.
Henry returned and woke me up. He said ‘check this out this is cool’. He closed his mouth and blew saliva bubbles thru a hole in his chin that he got from a headbutt. That is a little taste of the IVC.