Joao Alberto Barreto labored as a referee at UFC 1. But he built historical past as an undefeated fighter many years just before.
A pink belt in jiu-jitsu less than the legendary Helio Gracie, Barreto was invited by Helio and Rorion Gracie to referee four of the 8 UFC 1 matches in Denver, Colo., in 1993. He experienced earlier working experience as a fighter, promoter and ref in the Brazilian vale tudo circuit, but he was not a admirer of the promotion’s “no rules” idea.
“The Hawaiian fighter acquired kicked in the confront by the Dutch fighter and misplaced his enamel,” claimed Barreto. “He bought so bloody that I stopped the combat.”
That, of class, was the UFC’s initially-at any time match, a contest among Savate specialist Gerard Gordeau and sumo wrestler Teila Tuli that dropped jaws close to the earth, not to mention those people who watched it cageside.
“Kathy, what do you feel?” karate champ Invoice “Superfoot” Wallace requested kickboxing champ Kathy Extended as Tuli labored to right himself soon after a headlong demand achieved octagon fence. Gordeau wound up.
“I believe we’re just lacking tooth, there,” Extended deadpanned.
Barreto was also the 3rd person in the cage for Royce Gracie vs. Art Jimmerson, Gordeau vs. Kevin Rosier and Jason DeLucia vs. Trent Jenkins. He claimed Rorion Gracie and other advertising officials did not like the fact he selected to interrupt the combat thanks to Tuli’s missing tooth and the quantity of blood on the mat. That was the explanation he in no way arrived again right after UFC 1.
“Rorion arrived to me and questioned why did I halt the struggle, and I asked him, ‘Why not? The guy all bloodied up,’” Barreto stated. “The concept of the exhibit was that it could get unpleasant, a brawl with tons of blood, but that idea was a slip-up. If MMA is a sport, it can not dismiss the ethics of the sport – you just can’t acquire by hurting the other. Do you battle to damage your opponent? Where’s the approach, gentleman?”
It wasn’t that Barreto was unfamiliar with brutality. In truth, he was partly responsible for a brutal scene previously in his vocation that led to his exit from the countrywide phase.
Many years right before he stepped into the octagon as the third person in the cage, Barreto was the star of a weekly vale tudo Television demonstrate that featured vale tudo fights. A protege of Carlos and Helio Gracie, he was as soon as referred to as “the finest teacher in the Gracie academy” on Herois do Ringue. But one stubborn opponent finished his run.
“The Brazilian culture was very conservative back then, specifically in Rio de Janeiro,” Barreto said. “I broke the arm of a fighter, and there was a bit of disgust from the violence of combating just after that.
“You’ll most likely check with me if I desired to split his arm? Not at all. I explained to the referee it was going to break it due to the fact he wasn’t tapping to the kimura, and then he tried using to escape to the improper aspect and finished up fracturing his humerus.”
In other terms, a lack of system was to blame for the gruesome scene. Until eventually that place, the show was the exact same form of commercial for Gracie jiu-jitsu that the UFC was in the 90s.
Each individual week, the 160-pound Barreto would fight for a few, five-minute rounds with no gloves and just a couple of policies. Judokas, capoeira fighters, boxers, wrestlers, and whoever else wished to check out their luck against a member of the Gracie team would be standing throughout a boxing ring. His “training camp” for all fights consisted in sparring marines, he stated. Helio would line up 20 guys, and Barreto had to fall half of them utilizing his boxing. The adhering to day, he had to beat them only working with his jiu-jitsu.
“I gained each fight I had,” claimed Barreto, who competed on the clearly show for pretty much 8 months and claims to have won all but one of his fights via submission, also defeating a single “greased” opponent through TKO. “It was an excellent Television show. There was no fighter in record that fought each and every 7 days, and I had that privilege.”
A Tv set executive pitched him for the demonstrate after he designed a status as a Gracie protege, touring with the loved ones to Ceara, Brazil, a hotspot for fights sanctioned and otherwise.
Again then, “official” road fights had been extremely frequent. A single working day, Barreto conquer a man inspite of acquiring shot on the leg in the course of the fight in Copacabana. Each had been despatched to the clinic for distinctive explanations: Barreto for cure right after a bullet grazed his leg, and his opponent for a swollen encounter.
“[I got shot] all through the combat, but the combat was not over because of it,” Barreto explained with a chuckle. “I was not even experience it. You just cannot come to feel something in the heat of the moment in a battle.”
Gracie certain Barreto to put his abilities to use on Tv.
“‘You’ll have a battle every Monday,’” Barreto remembers of Carlos Gracie’s assistance. “‘If you gain, you get your whole spend. If it’s a attract, you get fifty percent. If you shed, there is no cash at all. Are you in?’
“Money or not, I’m here for you. Doing these fights will be good honor for me.”
Gracie experienced pushed Barreto in advance of to characterize his family. 6 months after Barreto started off coaching with Helio, the jiu-jitsu forefather resolved to check his college student.
“Helio took me to the A Noite newspaper business to issue a problem,” Barreto claimed. “The tale read, ‘The Gracie Academy will fabricate a new champion. A 15-calendar year-previous challenges any novice fighter from Rio de Janeiro to experience him in 6 months.’”
It was probably for the superior that no one particular responded to that problem, Barreta mentioned with a chortle, mainly because he may possibly have gotten crushed up soon after just a couple months of instruction. But his working day in the ring would arrive a several decades later on.
When Helio Gracie fought Jukio Kato the very first time at Maracana stadium on Sept. 6, 1951, Barreto challenged a person in a jiu-jitsu match in the prelims. Both of those matches finished in a draw. Gracie submitted Kato in a rematch a few months later in Sao Paulo, but Barreto did not get the rematch he was hoping for when it fell out owing to an injury.
Gracie was last but not least presented a possibility to face Japan’s Masahiko Kimura the pursuing month in entrance of somewhere around 40,000 fans at Maracana stadium. He missing via kimura, a system named just after the Japanese legend.
Before on that working day, Barreto scored his initial formal jiu-jitsu victory.
The two initially satisfied in 1951, when Helio Gracie was wanting for a location to hold his vale tudo fight with Landulfo Caribe. Antonio Carlos Barreto, father of Joao Alberto and the director of the National Institute of Schooling of the Deaf in Rio de Janeiro, was approached by the Gracies about working with their gymnasium for the celebration.
The Gracies have been very respected by the neighborhood and experienced ties with important individuals in the federal government, so Antonio Carlos Barreto resolved to hire the gymnasium no cost of cost.
“I went there to look at it and imagined it was extremely sophisticated,” Barreto claimed with a giggle. “Two guys on a gi, grabbing each individual other? What is this? [laughs] Helio gained with relieve, Caribe’s procedure was no match for our excellent master.”
The Gracies had been invited to a cocktail get together at Barreto’s home later on that night time to rejoice Helio’s victory. Which is when Carlos Gracie 1st observed the 15-year-previous child.
“I studied at the armed service faculty and liked sports and was a strong boy,” claimed Barreto, who had 9 brothers. “My father questioned me to choose my shirt off and demonstrate my physique to professors Carlos and Helio. I stated, ‘No, father.’ I was form of embarrassed, but took it off in the conclusion.
“Carlos Gracie looked at me and mentioned, ‘Dr. Barreto, this boy seems to be like a winner, and the Gracie academy will give him a scholarship.’”
Barreto approved the ”great gift” and went to Carlos Gracie’s health and fitness center days later on. Carlos was waiting around for him with a manufacturer new gi, and he promptly turned to a person of his college students and questioned him to grapple with Barreto.
“Try not to eliminate – he is aware of additional than you,” Gracie advised the younger newcomer. Barreto experimented with his greatest, but clearly was no match taking into consideration he only experienced five minutes or so of jiu-jitsu practical experience. Barreto did not give up, while, and labored tough just about every working day till he at last beat his teammate.
Carlos Gracie recognized he experienced a promising expertise and agreed when Helio prompt a grappling match involving Barreto and a guy recognized as “Japanese.” Helio held weekly competitions on Sundays at his farm in Teresopolis, 60 miles absent from Rio de Janeiro, and “Japanese” had just become the No. 1 person in the place.
“Joao Alberto only has 3 months of education, but I guess he will not get rid of to ‘Japanese,’” Carlos informed Helio, according to Barreto. The match took spot in Rio de Janeiro and ended in a attract. Helio shed the guess, and agreed to reserve a rematch for two months later on, this time in Teresopolis.
Barreto won the contest, and Helio decided to acquire him under his wing. Right before extended, he started off his vale tudo career, traveling with the Gracies and scoring victories about the Brazil.
Just after his exit from Herois do Ringue, Barreto was doing the job as a coach and psychologist when he acquired an additional get in touch with from the Gracies. A no-guidelines martial arts opposition held in Denver desired a referee.
Barreto has acquired a few classes about method and brutality in his yrs in and out of the cage. As the UFC celebrates his 27th birthday, the undefeated veteran has a request: stroll absent from elbows strikes on the floor, and eliminate this “violent” part of the MMA.