7 weeks removed from the physical attack that took place at the 2018 IBJJF World No-Gi Championship, an ordeal that shocked the jiu-jitsu world and dominated BJJ news headlines for the following days, the victim – Flavio Almeida, finally opened up in his first interview since the event.
In this interview, granted to the ‘Father and the Jiu-Jitsu Kid‘ podcast, Gracie Barra’s North America Executive Director finally opened up and addressed the contentious affair outside of the “Red Shield’s” inner circle. From the offices of GB Phoenix, Almeida started his address on the matter with “this wasn’t an attack against me, it was an attack on Gracie Barra and everything that we stand for.” going on to explain his pride in how the team handled the situation: “I had never seen Gracie Barra in its purest form until now” Flavio said, “the values we stand for is what I’ve have seen over these past 6 weeks. We pride ourselves in having each other’s backs, but this is a large organization with over 100,000 students all over the world. We just broke the mark of 800 locations worldwide, so you can imagine how hard it is to keep everybody together with so many people and so many roles they play (…) But man it was incredible how much support I received.”
This support, however, did not stop the former Brazilian from questioning himself and having darker thoughts: “These were some hard weeks for me because when you get hit like that it messes with you, with your identity. I tried to figure out what it meant. There is a big chunk of your pride that is taken away from you, especially being a fighter and a martial artist. So I had to make sense of what had happened to me.” Much of these thoughts came from the fact that Almeida did not retaliate at the time, no doubt. According to Flavio, as painful as it may have been, restraint was his only true option: “I was knocked out, but when I finally came back up. I knew he had attacked me, the first thing that came to my mind was ‘I could kick the sh*t out of this b*st*rd right here, right now’. He is much smaller than me, he is older than me, I would have no problem doing that. I had so much anger in me for being attacked like that, but, had I done that, I would have dragged the whole organization down.”
In the end, Flavio was proud of how his peers handled the situation as well, “I am glad I was surrounded by people who helped me regain my senses and walked me out.” said the current IBJJF World Masters champion, “had I done that [E.N. retaliate] we would have people from both organizations, two different groups killing each other.”
During the 90 minute interview Almeida also thanked the support of his instructor, Carlos Gracie Junior and addressed other issues from the Gracie Barra academy. Check out the full interview below: