MMA, jiu-jitsu legends honored with walk of fame in Rio de Janeiro

Dozens of mixed martial arts and jiu-jitsu stars were honored Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro. | Leonardo Fabri

The city of Rio de Janeiro has produced some of the most iconic fighters and key moments in the history of jiu-jitsu and MMA – once known as Vale Tudo in Brazil – and finally has a place to pay homage to names from the past and present.

Conceptualized by city councilor and jiu-jitsu black belt Marcelo Arar, “City of Martial Arts” was inaugurated on Wednesday with 12 squares and a walk of fame. The squares were named after martial arts legends such as Jigoro Kano, Mitsuyo Maeda and the Gracie family.

The walk of fame will include 60 plates, each one as a tribute to a former and current martial artists: Anderson Silva; Amanda Nunes; Deiveson Figueiredo; and 11 members of the Gracie family.

“I’m very happy,” Marcelo Arar stated in a release. “The government is finally paying attention to martial arts. Rio de Janeiro is the martial arts capital of the world; this is where the Gracie family developed Brazilian jiu-jitsu and exported it to the whole world. These squares and walk of fame will forever honor these great fighters and masters.”

Former UFC heavyweight title contender Pedro Rizzo, who has his name on the walk of fame, celebrated the tribute paid to his longtime master and UFC 7 tournament winner Marco Ruas, whom he believes deserves a spot in the UFC Hall of Fame.

“People look at the United States, the (UFC) Hall of Fame … the hall of fame is here,” Rizzo stated in a release. “Everyone in this walk of fame deserves to be in his hall, these are people that have their importance in the MMA world. People that, if it wasn’t for them, where wouldn’t even be a UFC. Honestly, we don’t need the (UFC) Hall of Fame. We need this, we need recognition in our country.”

Check below a list of names included in the project.

Walk of Fame:

Squares:

  • Jigoro Kano
  • Mitsuyo Maeda
  • Gracie family
  • Monir Salomao
  • Luiz Alves
  • Fausto Brunocilla
  • Pedro Gama Filho
  • Santa Rosa
  • Walter Guimaraes
  • Mestre Pastinha
  • Nam Ho Lee
  • Yasutaka Tanaka

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