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#79 Mauricio Gomes

In the mid-1960s as a four-year-old boy, Mauricio Gomes began to accompany his Brown belt father to the Jiu Jitsu academy, and Mauricio continued his training alongside his father until he was a teenager. In 1975 Mauricio was looking for a step up in competition when his friend Marcio Stambowsky took him to the Gracie academy and that is when Mauricio began training under the legendary Rolls Gracie.

Mauricio's, still a white belt, had his first class with the Gracie's on a Friday night. Rolls was not in attendance and the class was being taught by Carlos Gracie Junior. Carlos had Mauricio train with three guys and when he returned to class on Monday Rolls put him with two different partners. Mauricio must have shown the Gracie's something those two days. At the end of class, Rolls told Mauricio he was now a Blue belt and would be competing as one the following weekend. Mauricio proved that Rolls made the right decision by going on to become state champion in his weight and absolute divisions less than a week later. Mauricio continued his training with Rolls until Rolls passed away in 1982. By this time Mauricio had been awarded his Black Belt from Rolls, one of only six men to receive that honor.

Over the years Mauricio became very close with the Gracie family and married Carlos Senior's daughter Reila. The two had a son, Roger who would go on to become arguably the greatest BJJ competitor in history. Mauricio often jokes about how he has gone from being known for his own accomplishments to being known as "Roger's dad". But Roger's Dad was not done accomplishing great things. Mauricio went on to open the very first Gracie Barra Academy in the United Kingdom. In doing so, he has helped spread Jiu Jitsu throughout the U.K. and Europe.

Mauricio is now an 8th-degree Coral Belt, an honor he shares with his longtime friend Marcio Stambowsky. He can still be found in the gym daily, doing what he says now gives him the motivation to keep on living, teaching Jiu Jitsu, and passing on the lessons he has learned over his seven decades on the mats.


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