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Latino Mixed Martial Artists Find Home At Ring of Combat
Written by Alessandra Alma for My Latino Voice
April 18, 2010

When it comes to "combat" sports, boxing is the sport of choice for many Latinos. But with the growing popularity of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), Latinos, and especially American Latinos, are starting to take note and are quickly becoming more interested in MMA. Latinos are known to have a fighting spirit, which is why they are drawn to sports such as Boxing, Judo, Karate, and Tae Kwon Do. They already represent some of the top athletes in the world in these combat sports. MMA will be no exception.

In fact, the creation of MMA can be attributed to Latinos through the Gracie family from Brazil. The Gracie family created Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), the cornerstone of MMA. It was the Gracie family who came to the United States to teach BJJ and started the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in the 1990s. The UFC is the most sought after and most popular MMA competiton in the United States. According to Josh Nason, contributing writer to Fight Magazine, "The UFC is to mixed martial arts what the MLB is to baseball."

Latinos are not only becoming fans of the sport but are also competing in circuits all over the country. One organization that promotes professional MMA matches is "Ring of Combat (ROC)," started by kickboxing champion Lou Neglia. ROC is considered to be the top and longest running MMA organizations in the Northeast. Ring of Combat gives fighters an opportunity to compete on a professional level in fights that take place every few months at the Tropicana hotel in Atlantic City, NJ. ROC is also known for featuring up and coming fighters. As many as 32 ROC alumni fighters have gone on to compete in the UFC. Many of the fighters who compete in Ring of Combat are Latinos.

Brazilian Mixed Martial Artist Carlos David Oliveira Debuts at Ring of Combat XXIX
Written by Lindsey MacMhaolain for WKA USA

One such fighter who found a home at Ring of Combat is Carlos David Oliveira. Oliveira, a second degree black belt in the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (the martial art derived from the innovations of the Gracie family), also competes as a professional mixed martial artist. His fight on Lou Neglia’s Ring of Combat card in April of 2010 was a highly anticipated match which pitted Oliveira’s superior grappling skills against the substantial striking ability of Team Tiger Schulmann’s Jimmie Rivera. Oliveira performed valiantly, working for the takedown consistently throughout the first and second rounds to bring the game into his zone of specialization. However, a wide hook caused Oliveira to break his hand, and a takedown defense injured Oliveira’s knee. Despite the early stoppage at 2:59 of the 2nd round, Oliveira’s teammates (about ten Team Combat, VA members took a road trip up to Atlantic City to support their coach) had reason to be proud. Oliveira, despite his injuries, resumed teaching his classes soon after the fight at Combat Sports Center, Richmond, VA, to which he came to share his extensive knowledge of BJJ in November, 2009 from Fortaleza, Brazil. He hopes soon to whirl through physical therapy so that he can get back into the cage.

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