Carlson Gracie, one of the most important coaches in jiu-jitsu and MMA history, will be honored with a statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in August.
The idea to honor Gracie began after he died in 2006. The original plan was to try to get the Silva Castro Street, where his iconic gym is still located to this day, re-named to Carlson Gracie Street. However, a city law doesn’t allow it to re-name streets that are named after people.
With that in mind, a group of ex-students came together and decided to try to get a bronze statue of Gracie built and installed next to the gym. The process took almost a decade after previous mayors and secretaries did not approve of the idea, but it was finally approved earlier this year.
Brazilian artist Edgar Duvivier, who was the responsible for creating popular statues for Nelson Rodrigues, Clarisse Lispector and Isabel, Princess Imperial of Brazil, liked the idea so much that he kicked off working on the statue with no upfront payment.
“It was a real fight to get this statue approved,” Mauricio Carneiro, a black belt under Carlson Gracie and one of the leaders of the project, told MMA Fighting on Thursday.
”The statue is expected to be installed on Aug. 12, which is when Carlson Gracie liked to celebrate his birthday. Even though his birth certificate said he was born on the 13th, he didn’t like that day, so he always celebrated on the 12th.”
Carlson, son of Carlos Gracie, would have turned 86 years old on Aug. 2019.
The group started a crowdfunding campaign to gather money to pay Duvivier and the costs of the statue, around $20,000. In less than 12 hours, the group already reached more than six percent of the goal.
Gracie mentored a long list of future champions and coaches that includes Murilo Bustamante, Vitor Belfort, Paulo Filho, Ricardo Arona, Stephan Bonnar, Andre Pederneiras, Mario Sperry, Wallid Ismail, Amauri Bitetti, Ricardo Liborio, Conan Silveira, Ricardo De La Riva and Miguel Torres.