Jiu-jitsu athletes seeking donations on the internet to compete in the World Championship in Long Beach
Photo via personal archive

On Friday (07), Udson Ramos and Vitória Santos, both 19 years old, participating in the social project Geração UPP in Cidade de Deus (community in Rio de Janeiro), are raising money through a website and selling various products to compete in the world jiu-jitsu tournament, organized by the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF), in the United States. 

During the exclusive interview with VAVEL Brasil, Udson explained the importance of this championship in Long Beach, a city located in California, and said the changes that the competition can bring.

“We aim to fight there because the lives of many athletes have changed. Athletes who came from other communities and other needy places managed to have a different life through jiu-jitsu.With us acquiring any podium medal at the Worlds, we managed to have a much better life. We managed to have a much better promotion because that's what happened with these other athletes. Our friend went to Europe now at the beginning of the year, she is still there and will return this week, she played in the European tournament and won two gold medals. I know that her life is going to change completely. When we have a certain visibility within the project, it already acquires new opportunities to be able to take other people and we generate the same opportunity for itself."

Geração UPP belongs to the Military Police of the State of Rio de Janeiro (PMERJ). The purpose of the state security service is to prevent violence in the city's communities through sport. Udson expressed his opinion on this attitude to reduce crime rates.

“I think this project is very important, after all, it took many people took the street. Many young people adhere to the option of entering the drug trade in order to support the family, that's, to help the mother and other family members. However, the project brings the possibility to show that we don't only have this option and that, yes, we have the possibility of being better Human and we can improve in life. This helped me a lot. Made me a better person."

Ramos lives in Camorim, a neighborhood on the west side of Rio de Janeiro, and cycling from his house to the training. It's approximately 7 kilometers away. Vitória lives in the Cidade de Deus community. She described how the routine them.

“The training is very strong. We stayed from 9am to 4pm. In the morning, training is from 9am to 11am, we have lunch, rest a little, in the afternoon we train more and then we leave. Udson goes to the gym and I go to college. Everyone knows that we go to great lengths to be in training. If there are only two people, we train only with those two people. We evolve with each workout."

The duo stipulated as a goal to earn 10 thousand reais to make the trip. The amount would be to pay for tickets, lodging, meals, transfers, documentation and other costs. They decided to collect donations through a website and selling products, such as: chocolate truffles, ice cream and much more.

“On a training day, we stopped to talk and, when talking about future championships, Udson was thinking about fighting the World Cup. I wasn't. I only considered it next year. I felt very incapacitated and unprepared. He talked to me and said: ‘Are we going together?’, I took a deep breath and said, ‘Come on’. I have already planned this collection and we are only engaged. This happened last Friday. On the same day, many people were sharing”, said Vitória Santos.

“The donation is very recent. Vitória is helping a lot. I don't have much popularity, but she does. When she released it, many people were already sharing, contributing and saying they will contribute. I know that the price appears to be very high, but it is 10 thousand Reais for us. It's a dream that seems to be impossible, but the dream only becomes possible when we put it into practice. I believe that we will achieve it through donations and by selling products in various places", said Udson Ramos. 

Another aspect reported by the fighter was the fact that she was one of the few women in the gym. The sports environment still reflects some attitudes of our society and in jiu-jitsu it would'n be different. Vitória commented on an episode that happened to her.


O final é o melhor kk me sentindo a campeã mundial kkkk

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“In my gym, I'm the girl who most frequents the place. There are a few girls there, but few. I'm training every day. There was a day when I was training in the morning and in the afternoon, I ended up putting it in the ‘stories’ and one person asked: ‘Aren't you ashamed?’, I replied saying no and asked why I would be ashamed. However, the person said: 'you are fighting in an environment full of men'.I responded by saying that if you're doing something you love, you do it for love and it doesn't matter if you have a lot of men or if you don't have any girls to train."

Both athletes are purple belts. Udson accumulates several titles, such as: world champion (CBJJO - 2019), South American champion (CBJJO - 2019), Brazilian Championship champion (FJJD Rio - 2019) and much more. Vitória also have several achievements, including: world champion (CBJJO - 2016), world champion (CBJJO - 2015), bronze in the Brazilian Championship (CBJJ - 2016).

The Jiu-Jitsu World Championship, organized by the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF), will be held at The Walter Pyramid in May 2020. The arena is located in Long Beach, Los Angeles County, California (USA).