Marcelo Mello is a former UFC fighter and a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt, officially under Royler Gracie, who also trained extensively with the late Master Carlson Gracie. A historical figure in the sport having helped establish the Brazilian grappling style in places such as Argentina and the USA, Mello’s path in jiu jitsu is also unique one, as he was awarded his black belt on two separate occasions (in 1994 and in 1997) by two separate instructors, Carlson and Royler Gracie respectively.
Marcelo Mello Jiu Jitsu
Full Name: Marcelo Mello
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Marcelo Mello Biography
Marcelo Mello was born on the 30th of March, 1973 in São Paulo but moved to Rio de Janeiro as an infant where he grew up. He got interested in jiu jitsu when he was 18 years old, influenced by the street credibility enjoyed by the Gracie family and their fighting style in the streets of Rio de Janeiro during the 1980’s.
Mello’s first coach was Carlson Gracie who, arguably had the strongest grappling team in the world, a team that during the 1990’s started producing incredible experts in jiu jitsu for vale tudo rules, the early competitive format that led to mixed martial arts (MMA). Marcelo Mello was one of the products of this generation of fighters spawned by the Carlson Gracie Academy philosophy.
Having become one of Carlson’s closest students, Mello travelled with his instructor to Los Angeles together with Vitor Belfort in 1994 to try and make a living in the blooming sport of No Holds Barred. It was shortly before this trip that Master Carlson Gracie awarded him with his black belt.
As Marcelo returned to Brazil, after a (first) failed attempt at a life in the US, his Master set him with an important task of a personal nature. That task has never been disclosed by Mello or the late Master, but it was at the heart of the disagreement between Marcelo and Carlson that led to his exclusion from the Carlson team. According to Marcelo (who was interviewed for this piece), Gracie was ill advised by someone close and took a dramatic stance, demoting Mello to brown belt and expelling him from the academy.
Marcelo Mello remained faithful to his instructor for a long time, hoping Carlson would step back on his decision, but that never happened. As Mello was trying to pursue a career in fighting, he sought Royler Gracie’s academy to continue his training, receiving in 1997 his black belt for a second time in his life from the hands of Royler.
It was also in 1997 that Marcelo Mello went to Argentina where he helped kickstart the Brazilian grappling style in the land of silver. Though he established a school there, he returned to the Brazil and later tried his luck in the USA again, this time in New York.
After struggling to make a living from jiu jitsu on many occasions, Mello finally gave in, having become an entrepreneur on a non sports related market.