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Caio Terra Interview

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Nicholas Meregali Instructionals

For those less familiar with recent events here is a quick run down of the occurrences that have been heating up chat rooms, fight related forums and social media in general in the past few days, the “Cesar Gracie vs Caio Terra feud”.

Brazilian born Caio Terra is currently one of the most accomplished jiu jitsu black belts in the world with several titles both in the gi and in no gi. In 2007 Caio was invited by Cesar Gracie to come and settle in the US and become Gracie Eltite’s grappling coach, which Terra accepted. Caio Terra worked with Gracie Elite for years, but more recently, he was invited by MMA fighter Carlos Condit to help him prepare for his UFC title shot against George Saint Pierre (UFC 154). This past week Cesar Gracie made his discontent very vocal firing Caio through Twitter and making several brash remarks about Terra through Facebook. BJJ Heroes got in contact with Caio Terra for a short interview to hear his version of the facts.

Caio Terra: “(…)his (Cesar Gracie’s) public reaction came months after he knew and the day before the event”


Before we go on to the current state of affairs, please explain what your role was at the Cesar Gracie (Gracie Fighter) academy before the break-up?

Before last week I did not teach at Cesar’s academy, I taught at my own academy and a Gracie Fighter affiliate gym in Dublin (CSA). Kirian and MJ are very nice guys and as they were affiliated with Gracie Fighter when I was removed from the team I was asked to not teach there any more.

What kind of a relationship did you have with Cesar Gracie and his team (Diaz brothers, Jake Shields, Melendez and the rest of the crew)?

I respect every one, if they ever needed help or anything I was always willing to help out. Personally I did not know any of them very well. In the past 3 years I’ve seen Cesar maybe 10 times.

How did the opportunity to coach Carlos Condit occur, and why did you decide to take it?

Carlos got a hold of me and asked me to come to New Mexico for a week. At the time I was extremely busy with my own training, my academy and seminars, I hesitated at first but they said it was only a week and there were no obligations. Apparently during that week they really liked me and asked me to come back. For me it was a great week as I got a chance to really talk and get to know Carlos. Whether some one is a good fighter or good jiu jitsu person isn’t that important, what really matters is if they’re good people and Carlos is a phenomenal person! It was both an honour and a pleasure to work with him, I only wish he won the fight as I believe he has all the tools to be the champ.

Were you expecting this reaction from Cesar Gracie after you accepted this role as grappling coach of Condit?

Before I accepted to help I talked with Cesar, at first he wasn’t very nice about it and did not want me to go. After I talked with him about it more he said he was joking around and it was OK  I wasn’t quite sure what changed his mind. As for his public reaction it came months after he knew and the day before the event, unfortunately, especially for my students at CSA, he does not want me to help with Gracie Fighter or be affiliated in any way.

Are you going to keep working with the Greg Jackson camp, or was this just for one camp, exclusive to Carlos Condit?

It really is up to them.

Is there anything you would like to say to Cesar Gracie at this point? 

I wish every one from Gracie Fighter well. I appreciate all they did and wish things would have turned out differently.

You have recently started your own association, CTBJJA (Caio Terra Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Association), what are your plans for the future with regards to your life as a BJJ coach?

We officially started right before Pan’s, after planning it for a long time (I wore association patches on my gi at pants). This wasn’t a spur of the moment thing, it was many years in the making. I feel currently most associations take more than give. If the goal is to spread jiu jitsu and grow the business than the business and the person should come before the association! It’s simple as the gym grows so does the association, so with this in mind we put gym owners and students first. When you join our association you aren’t buying a name or lineage, you’re joining a group of like minded individuals who really are behind you. I am very excited to see where this goes and am very happy to know we are producing champions on and off the mat.

Any final thoughts you would like to share, with your fans and students?

I’d like to thank every one for the support. I personally would like to apologize to my students that trained with me under the Gracie Fighter affiliations. Keep training guys, respect every one and know that although we no longer are on the same team I will always cheer for you.


Editor’s Note: Special thanks to Nick from OSS ( for the help with this interview.

Roberto Jimenez BJJ Attacking The Back


  • tyrone says:

    It seems like Caio Terra is really a class act. Politics always get in the way in advanced and elite level martial arts.

  • Frosty says:

    Caio is the man. Great guy, extremely friendly, and technical beyond belief. Very willing to help everyone from white belt to black belt. Not a greedy or selfish bone in his body. It really is too bad tyrone!

  • Dave says:

    Daves! Will be greatly missed at CSA. Dude it was a pleasure to train with such a bad ass. I doubt that I will get to see someone who is that size kick ass like that in the same room.

  • From the very beginning I found it odd that Cesar would react the day before the fight, as if he just discovered it. Everything Ciao said makes sense and I believe that Ciao's involvement was known for months. I also believe that Ciao spoke with Cesar before helping Condit.

  • CheckMatBJJ says:

    While Caesar Gracie knew Caio Terra was working with Carlos Condit for months he did not know Caio would be walking out and cornering him during his main event fight. Helping someone train for a money behind closed doors is one thing but to blatantly walk out with a fighter creating the perception you are part of the same team when in fact you are not is disrespectful to Caeser. Not many people knew Caio was part of the Gracie Fighter team or that he was training Condit therefore it wasn't so much public knowledge that it would give Caesar a hissy fit. However once he learned Caio was going to be on tv where it would be broadcasted to the world that he was a Caeser Gracie fighter and was cornering someone who just recently beat his protege. It doesn't take a genius to piece the two together resulting as to why Caear got so upset.
    this would make him upset.

    • 93coupe says:

      It’s actually almost impossible to notice Caio Terra in the background during the St. Pierre v Condit fight. I’m a big Terra fan and didn’t notice him the first time at all, after watching the fight again and actively looking for him, he’s very hard to spot. After this reaction by Cesar and the no-show by Nick Diaz at the Expo and the way the Diaz brothers act in general I don’t think Cesar is helping is fan base.

  • alex213 says:

    Typical Gracie politics. Look. Caio don’t need them. Very respectful guy and for gracie to get mad is plain ridiculous. Diaz bros. Bunch of douche bags that don’t deserve any props. Caio is the man and dont need Gracie’s bull.

  • fedorlei says:

    Cesar said the correct : dime a dozen brasilian con man, would sell out ANYONE for a quick buck and a tv cameo.

    nothing to do with gracie politics, if cesar helped him get a work visa or into the country and established …that type of thing is beyond BJJ loyalty that is someone taking a chance on you. Caio just another brasilian that pulled the same thing that almost every brasilian black belt does when they are brought to north america to teach, turns on you the first chance they get.

    • Anon says:

      Just because someone helped you get a work visa doesn't mean you owe them your life. Presumably caio worked for Cesar, so that's what Cesar got, labor in exchange for visa. Probably cheap labor.

  • bjj132 says:

    @alex213 I dont understand what this has to do with the diaz bros? i don't recall any of them saying anything bad about terra so for you to trash talk them (ignorantly because you don't even know them well enough to judge them) shows you are just a gracie fighter hater and your input on this matter is completely biased.

  • Fedor Emelianenko says:

    Caio Terra is a very inspirational figure in BJJ. I remember him talking about how one should not worry about being smashed when they first start; just focus on technique. And one day there will come a time when there is no strength which will be able to overcome your technique. Very inspiring. Great person and great teacher.

  • cpgraciefighter says:

    real talk here. caio is an extremely good athlete. his technique is awesome and has amazing dexterity. but if being honest, he did cesar and the team wrong. i was at gracie fighter when he was teaching. if not for cesar and vas he would still be in brazil. his head got too big with everyone kissing his ass at the academy and forgot where he came from. i personally got along with caio and loved him like a brother. but i think shit changed when he tried training mma. hed be sparring kickboxing and try and shoot cuz he couldnt throw hands. i think it took him down a peg when he found out he wasnt as tough as he thought. that was when he turned shit.

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