Bruno Paulista, also known as Bruno “Mamute”, is a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt under Alexandre de Souza, who also worked extensively with Master Deoclecio Paulo. Mamute is a World and Pan American No-Gi Champion, who on April 2010 suffered a severe and life changing car accident in which Paulista lost many of his most basic motor capabilities, from walking down stairs to chewing. After 4 surgeries and many years of recovery, on March 2015 Bruno Paulista returned to competition at the IBJJF Pan American Championships. Bruno Paulista Jiu Jitsu Full Name: Bruno Rodrigues Paulista Nickname: “Mamute”, meaning “woolly mammoth” in Portuguese. The name started in Bruno’s last year of high school. As he walked to class, being a very large teenager, he touched something on the hallway that fell to the ground and broke. One of his classmates (who was of smaller stature) said “man, you are like a mammoth!” Bruno took offence and told his classmate to shut up. As a result everyone started laughing, and sensing that he didn’t like the name his friends “baptized” him Mamute from their on. Lineage: Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie Sr. > Crolin Gracie > Alexandre de Souza > Bruno Paulista Main Achievements: World Championships No Gi Champion (2007) Pan American No Gi Champion (2008) American Nationals Champion (2007) World Championships No Gi 2nd Place (2009) Pan American No Gi Championship 2nd Place (2008) Pan American Championship 2nd Place (2007) World Championships No Gi 3rd Place (2008) American Nationals 3rd Place (2007 absolute) Pan American No Gi Championship 3rd Place (2007) Favourite Position/Technique: Open Guard Weight Division: pesadíssimo (over 100kg/221lbs) Team/Association: Mamute Jiu Jitsu Bruno Paulista Biography Bruno Paulista was born on the 16th of July, 1983 in Brasilia, Brazil. Bruno entered the world of martial arts through judo when he was around 7 or 8 years old. He signed on to his first jiu jitsu at 16 years of age, convinced by a few of his friends who trained at Master Deoclecio Paulo‘s academy. “Mestre Deo” promoted Bruno to blue and purple, but in 2005 his family moved to the South of Brazil, namely Florianopolis where Paulista resumed his training with Alexandre Souza at Gracie Floripa. Later that year Mamute returned to Brasilia for Christmas and was awarded his brown belt by Paulo. One year later, on December 6, 2006 Bruno Paulista earned his black belt from Alexandre de Souza. On April 2007 Bruno’s good friend, Tony Eduardo, who had taught at one of Ralph Gracie’s academies in the US, informed Paulista of a job opening at one of Ralph’s affiliate academies in Orange County. Mamute applied for the position and was accepted, moving to the US that year.. Bruno Paulista’s dedication to martial arts led him to cage fighting (MMA), a sport in which he debuted on July 2009 at the Long Beach Fight Night 5, defeating Aleksandr Sukhonosov by RNC. With his coaching and athletic career booming, Bruno Paulista decided to purchase his academy in Anaheim at the start of 2010. On April that same year Mamute visited Brazil to see his family and friends. Unfortunately while in Brazil Bruno suffered a horrible car accident which left him with severe brain trauma and unable to do even the simplest of tasks. After various surgeries (one of which saw a titanium plate being attached to Bruno’s head) and months of rehab, Bruno was cleared to train again. Although he had the medical clearance to train, Bruno’s body and mind were not the same. He had constant headaches and his body coordination was severely affected by the crash. The doctors explained that he needed extra sleep to recover but insomnia haunted him for many years. 4 years passed under these conditions, and although mentally drained, Bruno did not give up. In 2014 Mamute promised his good friend Jason Hunt (black belt in judo and jiu jitsu) that he would compete again. It took him longer than expected to get focussed in that goal, but on January 2015 he made the decision to compete again at Pan Ams that year. He did most of his preparation at the Gracie Gym in Garden Grove with Magno Almeida as well as Kings MMA with Ricardo Testai. After entering the competitive arena for the first time after the accident on March 2015, Bruno wrote on his Facebook page: “Saturday was a very special day for me. I didn’t win the Pan Ams but I won in my life. It was a big victory to be back competing after my car accident and I am really proud to have amazing family and friends. I wouldn’t be able to do it without my girlfriend Jessica Schumacher, my mom Angela Paulista, my brother Hugo Paulista, and Jeff Rohn. I want to thank everyone that helped me to get ready: all my students, and the black belts Magno Almeida, Ricardo Testai, Renato Sobral, and Jorginho Closel.” That same year Paulista competed at the World Masters tournament, losing against 2x open weight world champion Rodrigo Comprido by 1 advantage. Banner photo by Alicia Photos.