Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Team History, Fighter Stats, Biographies and News

Fernando Augusto “Terere”

Fernando Augusto, most commonly known by his nickname, “Terere”, is one of the most talented and charismatic Brazilian jiu jitsu fighters to have ever stepped on a mat. This multiple time world medallist became a black belt world champion for the first time at the age of 20 and was regarded as a “Pound for Pound” best during the early 2000′s, he also had great impact as a coach, having helped raise the game of fighters such as André GalvaoRubens CharlesMichael LanghiLucas Lepri, among many others; though a diagnosed case of schizophrenia led him to drug addiction and away from jiu jitsu. He appeared back into the BJJ scene in 2010, but his recovery was erratic and followed with a few ups and downs. Terere returned to jiu jitsu competition in Mexico on September 2012.

Fernando Terere Jiu Jitsu

Full name: Fernando Augusto da Silva

Nickname: Terere is the name of a Brazilian herb used on a famous Brazilian tea. The nickname however was first mentioned by Muzio de Angelis at the Academia Strike where Fernando Terere used to train when he was a blue belt, Fernando loved singing a popular song that had the word “Terere” in the chorus and for that reason the name came up.

Lineage: Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie > Helio Gracie > Rolls Gracie > Romero Cavalcanti > Alexandre Paiva > Fernando Augusto Terere

Main Achievements:

  • 6x World Champion (black belt: 2000, 2003; brown: 1999, purple: 1998 weight & absolute; blue: 1997)
  • 2x World Cup Champion (2002, 2003)
  • Brazilian National Champion (2001, 2003 black)
  • Pan American Champion (2004)
  • 2x World Silver Medallist (2001, 2004 as a super heavyweight*)
  • Pan American Silver Medallist – Open Weight (2004)

* Fought 3 classes above his weight

Weight Division: Peso Medio – Middleweight (82Kg – 181lbs)

Association/Team: Team Alliance; Master Team; Brasa Team and TT.

Terere Merchandise:

Fernando Terere Biography

Fernando Augusto “Terere” was born on the 15th of November 1980 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. There is not much information about Tereré as a child, it is known however that he was raised in poverty on one of the Major Slums in Rio de Janeiro the “Morro do Cantagalo”.

He started training Jiu Jitsu as a way to escape the drug traffic and violence on his streets, training with Master “Lelo” and staying with Lelo until he reached his green belt. After that his instructor stopped coaching for financial reasons and Terere had to halt his training. Fernando returned a while later after an invitation made by Otavio Couto to come and train at the Academia Strike with the likes of Roberto Traven and Alexandre Paiva. His unnatural athletic ability made him a success in competition from the start, winning every major tournament there was to win and by the time he reached his blue belt he was already one of the toughest rolls at the gym (even with several world class black belts on the mats daily). He stated in an interview that he always liked to fight from the top position because he is slightly claustrophobic and being on the bottom causes him significant distress, and so every time he hit a bad position he would spin out of it as fast and explosively as possible. He is considered still today the most charismatic Jiu Jitsu fighter to have stepped on a mat, and he often brought the crowd to a roar when he fought.

One of the examples of how Terere played along with the crowd occurred in 1998’s World Championships when he was still a purple belt. Both Alliance and Gracie Barra were equal in team points going to the final of the Purple Belt Absolute Division (open weight class), in that final fight, Tererê (Alliance) was matched against a much larger Rolles Gracie (Gracie Barra), but that didn’t stop him from trying his best and the “Tijuca Tenis Club” almost went down as the Alliance supporters celebrated when Terere won the match (Rolls Gracie was disqualified half way through the fight) and team Alliance won the event.

Although always focused in competition, Terere also found time to promote the sport amongst those less privileged creating an academy in the “Morro do Cantagalo” the Favela (slum) in he grew up. The purpose of this academy was to take kids off the streets and off gun crime and this academy proved to be a huge success doing just that. When Terere moved to Sao Paulo a few years later, he left his friend Ricardo Vieira in Charge, and the project still stands today in the hands of Ricardo.

In 2000 Terere got to the final of the Middleweight Black Belt division (in his first year as a black belt), he faced Nino Schembri who had submitted almost everyone on his way to the final and was a heavy favourite. Terere however did not tremble and using his cleaver tactics (something he was famous for throughout his career), he took two points for a throw and defended inside Nino’s guard to win his first major title as a Black Belt, celebrating in the end with some Elvis Presley dance impersonation, mocking Schembri (whose nickname is Elvis).

In 2002 Fernando was part of an elite group of Alliance Jiu Jitsu black belts who left the team after a dispute with one of the headmasters of Alliance, Favio Gurgel. The dispute was over which tournament to team should focus their training for, the World Championships or the World Cup as they occurred a week apart from each other. As the World Cup offered good prize money to its competitors and the Championships didn’t, Terere and his team mates felt they should support this organization (CBJJO – Confederação de Jiu Jitsu Olimpico) and compete in it, Gurgel however decided against it, as he felt that competing in the Cup was less prestigious then competing in the World Championship. The fighters did not agree and a split was inevitable. And so Master Team was formed. The team that would later split leaving Terere to form a team with another team mate (Eduardo Telles) forming the TT Team.

In 2003 Terere started his MMA Career, with a first bout (and only bout so far) against a veteran by the name of Gleison Tibau (today fighting in the UFC). The fight was very even but the split decision went to Tibau. After diping his toes in Mixed Martial Arts, he went on to win his second World Championship reaching the final with Marcelo Garcia and submitting Marcelo with a triangle (see fight video at the bottom of the page). In 2004 Terere decided to try his luck in the Super Heavyweight Division and he almost pulled it off, losing in the final to an immensely larger opponent in Fabricio Werdum.

2004 was also the year that Terere’s world started crumbling beneath him, after being arrested in the USA supposedly for shouting abuse at an air stewardess, Terere fell into a massive depression induced by drug taking that led to dependence. His life has been incredibly shaky since then, as he abandoned the sport that he loved to live the life of a drug addict. In 2006 Terere moved to the North-eastern town of Natal on the state of Rio Grande do Norte, to escape the environment that was holding him in. He stayed clean for a while and started training again, however a relapse took him back to his crack dependence as he moved back to Rio de Janeiro.

In late 2009 the rumours spread that Fernando Terere was in a rehab clinic and doing better, With the help of his family and the BJJ community Terere came back to training in 2010 in Brazil and in August of that same year he travelled to the United Kingdom were he spent time teaching his world class Jiu Jitsu, marrying an English woman there. In 2012 he would return to Brazil spending more time in a clinic to recover from his (now officially disclosed) case of schizophrenia. Also in 2012 Fernando Terere returned to jiu jitsu competition, fighting (and winning) a black belt tournament in Mexico.

Terere Interview

This questionnaire took place in July 2010 thanks to insidebjj.com, a spanking jiu jitsu podcast, who’s owner was kind enough to allow BJJ Heroes to share the interview in exchange of a little help with the translation. There is also a thank you note to Andre Galvao the man that arranged the meeting with Terere.

Inside BJJ / BJJ Heroes
The entire jiu-jitsu community wants to know how you are doing. How is your physical and mental health? How is your training?

Fernando Terere
My strength and conditioning is shaping up in accordance to the training I have been doing so I can start competing as soon as possible. That is my goal.

Inside BJJ / BJJ Heroes
You grew up in the favelas of Cantagalo, Rio De Janeiro. Can you tell us how you started Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

Fernando Terere
I was invited to train by one of the coaches to get me off the streets, I accepted and enjoyed it very much. Then I started winning tournaments like the Brazilian Nationals and State Championships and that was that.

Inside BJJ / BJJ Heroes
This is a difficult question but everyone wants to know what happened to you. You were an extremely successful champion. There was the 2004 airline incident, the split from Alliance, the split from TT and tales of your bouts with depression and drug dependence. Tell us your story in your words.

Fernando Terere
All this was extremely difficult for me. Having gone though all this, I feel like I have sinned by letting myself get involved with these things. But now new paths are presented before me and people are accepting me back and believing in me again.

Inside BJJ / BJJ Heroes
You have stated that you’re coming back to jiu-jitsu. Do you plan on returning to the Pan Ams, Mundials, World Cup Pro tournaments? What team will you return to?

Fernando Terere
I believe that with my training and the preparation I have been doing, I will be ready, very possibly, for the next Mundial (World Championships) but I might compete in other events also.

Inside BJJ / BJJ Heroes
Who do you think is the biggest challenge in jiu-jitsu right now?

Fernando Terere
I think my greatest challenge is myself at this point. If I can overcome all that I have been through and dedicate myself more and more to this sport, I will be back at Middleweight competing against the best today.

Inside BJJ / BJJ Heroes
In your career you were not only a great athlete but also a gifted instructor having coached great champions like Andre Galvao, Cobrinha, Sergio Moraes, Finfou and many others. How do you see yourself in the near future in the sport, as a fighter or as a coach?

Fernando Terere
At the moment I see myself competing, the work I have been putting on is with that intent, but after that I plan on doing seminars all over the World and to help all the athletes that come to me for help with their techniques.

Inside BJJ / BJJ Heroes
In 2004 you decided to fight the Mundial as a “Pesadissimo” 4 times above your weight class, reaching the final with Fabricio Werdum. Why did you make that decision?

Fernando Terere
I think at that moment in time I was very strong mentally and also physically. I wanted to test myself against bigger opponents. It’s just a shame that I just got silver (Laughs).

Inside BJJ / BJJ Heroes
De Cantagalo Project was a revolutionizing idea in Rio de Janeiro that had a tremendous impact in the impoverished community of the Cantagalo Slums. The idea came from yourself but today is led by Ricardinho. Do you have plans to go back to the project or of having part in a similar project?

Fernando Terere
I will always be connected with social projects. This was the time in which I found myself closer to myself. Taking time to encourage the kids of today to practice Jiu-Jitsu is very important, important for everybody.

Banner picture taken from Gracie Mag.

Terere vs Marcelo Garcia (2003 World Final)

Pe de Pano vs Terere (Brazilian Nationals 2001)

Terere vs Jose Roberto (Golden Cup-Rio Open 2004)

Terere Return 2011

This post is also available in: Portuguese (Brazil)

5 Comments

  • Alvaro Portal says:

    Que bueno que el amigo maestro Fernando Tereré se está recuperando y ojalá sea para siempre, solo por un mal entendido lo apresaron, pero sabemos que este campeón superará ese mal momento que pasó y será un gran ejemplo para todos los deportista en el mundo entero. Suerte Tereré.

  • rome says:

    Much Respect from 13N/144E

  • bjj says:

    Uhhhh tereré

  • jearuiz01 says:

    I like this part, "In 2006 Terere moved to the North-eastern town of Natal on the state of Rio Grande do Norte, to escape the environment that was holding him in. He stayed clean for a while and started training again, however a relapse took him back to his crack.

  • Bastian says:

    Terere just opened up a new academy in Ipanema. It would be great to have some info about that here as well. He has been one of the most influential coaches in the BJJ scene and will probably produce more champs in the future

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