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From Bagboy To Gym Owner, The Amazing Story of Márcio André

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Very few grapplers have accomplished what Márcio André has done in his 24 years of existence. A world champion who battled with all the legends of his and of past generations, including the Miyaos, the Mendes, two generations of the Cobrinha family, Edwin Najmi, Renato Canuto, Lepri, Langhi, etc. The list is endless and incredible. Even more so, when considering he was raised in an impoverished region of Brazil, a place where opportunity did not come knocking at doors.

After a life of challenges, Márcio has decided to dive in, head first, on a new one. His own BJJ Academy: “I’ve had this idea since the time I lived in Brazil” André said in a recent interview to BJJ Heroes. He continued, “my first coaching opportunity was in Abu Dhabi, and after with Gustavo Dantas, but my goal was always to have my own business. I have always been business-minded. To give you an idea, I used to work at a car-wash, also packing-carrying bags at the supermarket and sold fried chicken, all this to pay for my tournament fees, but throughout my time doing these jobs I was always trying to learn from the business. How to deal with customer service, how the logistics of the company worked, etc. I wanted to know how to assist and care for clients because I knew my life would lead me there, God willing.”

And indeed it did. The location, however, is somewhat different from what we have come to expect from the big names of our sport / martial art, as Márcio did not choose to settle in Southern California. Instead, André chose Phoenix, Arizona to settle roots, which, for him, was not only an option, it was The option: “My experience in Arizona has been amazing. I came here to train and compete but ended up staying and love it here. My daughter was born here and I slowly built my life in this area. It would be unthinkable to leave, I love it here.

With so much change, one thing is certainly on Márcio’s fans’ minds. Will he be able to continue to compete at the highest level with a daughter and a gym to attend? André didn’t blink with his answer: “I am just 24 years old. I believe nothing will get in the way of my goals as an athlete, quite the contrary, it will help me“. He explained: “I have always had problems in finding consistent training partners. Now I will build my own, and hopefully bring a few guys from Bangu [E.N.: Márcio’s original gym in Rio de Janeiro]. (…) I was never a full-time athlete in the past. This is easy! I’ve always chased my dreams and gone to war for them, this is what keeps me alive.

Fired up for what the future may bring the André family, Márcio can be found at the:

Marcio Andre Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy
14647 S. 50th Street, Suite B-105
Phoenix, AZ 85044

Although under the name: “Marcio Andre Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy”, the gym and Márcio will continue to represent the Nova União team, as he has done throughout his career.

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