BJJ Tournament: Copa Pódio!

On Sunday this past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Copa Pódio here in Rio with Aaron (of, his wife, and another BJJ friend Itamar (of

The Copa Pódio is like no other Brazilian Jiu Jitsu event I’ve ever seen before. Essentially, it’s a single-elimination tournament, and it seems that only 10 well-known black belts are invited to participate. But what I’ve never seen any other BJJ tournament do before is this: All of the rounds happen one at a time such that the spectator aspect of the round is maximized. In other words, it’s like any televised UFC event, where each match is accessible by spectators, whether in person, via radio, or television.

In addition to the 10 black belts invited to participate in the tournament, they also include a few superfights. Apparently the live fights are watchable on Pay-Per-View for like $21.00, or if you miss them, you can download and watch them from the website.. for a nominal fee of $2.50-$5.00.

If you’re curious about their official rules, you can find them here in English (yes, English!).

What was amazing was the fact that there were so many well known BJJ fighters all in one place, and fighting each other!

The first fight of the night was a superfight: The famous Tererê versus Vinícius Marinho.


First fight of the night: Tereré VS Vinicius Marinho.

Yes, that is a photo of me with Tererê fighting someone like 50 feet behind. Awesome. Too bad Tererê lost the fight. Marinho is a beast.

Rodolfo Vieira also fought (and won) against his opponents Léo Leite and Ricardo Demente. Funnily enough, Aaron and I bought tickets to the Copa Pódio earlier that day from the guy who sits next to the famous sand sculpture of Rodolfo Vieira on Copacabana beach.

Why, yes, there IS a sand sculpture of Rodolfo Vieira on the beach of Copacabana. And yes, this is where we bought tickets to the Copa Pódio.

DJ Jackson, from Team Lloyd Irvin (insert appropriate noise), was also invited to fight. That guy is a whole lot of muscle and brawn. I can’t say his were my favorite fights to watch.

Clark Gracie fought too. The only reason I even know who Clark Gracie is is because of the Ridiculously Photogenic Jiu Jitsu guy meme…

Ridiculously Photogenic Jiu Jitsu Guy Meme. One of many many captions out there.

It was cool to see Kyra Gracie by the edge of the mat, as his cheerleader/coach.

clark and kyra

Clark fighting, and Kyra cheering him on.

And of course the winner of the whole tournament was… Leandro Lo! Honestly, I had never heard of him before, but then again, I’m a terrible BJJ fan/spectator. All in all it was a fun night. My only complaint was perhaps the fact that the entire tournament lasted about SIX HOURS. I’m not kidding. The event officially started at 5pm (on a Sunday no less) and we didn’t leave the place until a little after 11pm.

At which point it was, of course, time for second dinner. Hahaha.

And since my photos obviously don’t do the event justice, you can see more on the Copa Pódio’s Facebook page here.


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