The Rise of The Mc-Blackbelt: Rashad Evans Receives Meaningless Belt

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emfleek
1/4/10 3:08:43PM
Fighters.com fourth-ranked light heavyweight “Sugar” Rashad Evans (14-1-1) received his black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu from Rolles Gracie (2-0) Saturday before UFC 108. The awarding of black belts today in mixed martial arts (MMA) is becoming homogenized as many fighters seem to be able to get them as easy as a Big Mac. It is a disgrace to the fighting style of Jiu Jitsu, the black belt lineage and to Helio Gracie himself.

Having trained in jiu jitsu myself I am well aware of the hard work and dedication it takes to make your way up to the different belts. Reaching the status of black belt is one that, in the past, had been reserved for those that truly dedicated themselves to the style and that embodied all that jiu jitsu stood for as a fighting style. The belt system in jiu jitsu, for those that are not familiar with the style, starts at white belt. The lineage is as follows: white, blue, purple, brown and black. Most people who study jiu jitsu work at least 8 years to get to the level of black belt. Rashad started training in MMA in 2004 with Dan Severn before he made it to The Ultimate Fighter 2 on Spike TV in 2005. During his time on the show Rashad showed off his wrestling and not much else. His lack of a top game and lack of stand up was eveident on the show. We can infer from this that he had not trained in much jiu jitsu, if any at all at this point. Now he receives his black belt in just over 4 years which would lead some to believe that his jiu jitsu is on par with Fighters.com and UFC Lightweight Champion “Prodigy” BJ Penn (15-5-1) who received his black belt in three years.

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KaibaThedon
1/4/10 3:40:00PM
Its just another thing to add to his fighter profile... he's never even attempted a submission in the ufc lol
AnDeRsonDaSiLvA
1/4/10 4:21:05PM
Rashad Passed Thiago's guard at least twice(thiago is a legit blackbelt himself) . Almost took back but slipped off, very tough to take the back when sweaty. Mounted Thiago in the 1st round . Did not get submitted , kept great position , all while in front of a huge audience . Endorsed by Renzo and Rolles Gracie, as well as Greg Jackson . Rashad is legit IMO .


This brings up the topic of training in a gi. A gi is the required uniform in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ). The only way to get a BJJ black belt it to train in the gi.


People also questioned jake shields belt because he didnt train in a gi , so Jake put on a gi and won the purple belt division at the Pan-Americans, taking out a guy that was a silver medalist in the Worlds, and Jake beat the guy 18-0. Jake also dominated Vinnie in the finals of the California Professional Sub Wrestling Championship in late 2005, when Jake was a 170 lb purple belt and Vinnie was the 3 time black belt heavyweight world champion.



cowcatcher
1/4/10 4:43:31PM

Posted by AnDeRsonDaSiLvA

Rashad Passed Thiago's guard at least twice(thiago is a legit blackbelt himself) . Almost took back but slipped off, very tough to take the back when sweaty. Mounted Thiago in the 1st round . Did not get submitted , kept great position , all while in front of a huge audience . Endorsed by Renzo and Rolles Gracie, as well as Greg Jackson . Rashad is legit IMO .


This brings up the topic of training in a gi. A gi is the required uniform in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ). The only way to get a BJJ black belt it to train in the gi.


People also questioned jake shields belt because he didnt train in a gi , so Jake put on a gi and won the purple belt division at the Pan-Americans, taking out a guy that was a silver medalist in the Worlds, and Jake beat the guy 18-0. Jake also dominated Vinnie in the finals of the California Professional Sub Wrestling Championship in late 2005, when Jake was a 170 lb purple belt and Vinnie was the 3 time black belt heavyweight world champion.





if youre talking about vinny maghalaes im pretty sure he wasnt a black belt in 05, so he couldnt have had 3 blackbelt world championships at that point. that said, jake has very good BJJ and has shown the ability to use it whereas rashad has shown next to nothing. just because you train in it as part of a cross training program doesnt mean you are black belt level. but as more and more people train in BJJ, and it becomes part of the mainstream in the states, more and more people will be taking BJJ classes and getting those belts will take priority over training to learn and become better for yourself. its a sign of the times, martial arts dont stand for the same things that they did in other areas or other eras as they do now in america.
warglory
1/4/10 5:12:46PM
I completely disagree with this article. First off, there's no way us fans, or an MMA magazine can make the assumption that Rashad hasn't gained the necessary BJJ skills to warrant a black belt in the art. It's been said by many that a wrestlers' transition to bjj is very fluid. Most people have zero ground game knowledge when they begin to learn BJJ, but Rashad was/is a very accomplished wrestler who obviously learns very quickly (as witnessed by his new found striking acumen).

Its true Rashad hasn't used much BJJ in his fights, but until his bout with Thiago, he hadn't been using very much wrestling either. It's clear that in the world of MMA, Rashad has placed improving his striking above all else in order to become an elite fighter, but BJJ is not MMA, and his technique may have developed exceedingly well in the gym, behind closed doors for all we know.

Most BJJ practitioners don't train as much as professional fighters, because most people have day jobs. Rashad most likely spends all day, every day in the gym, learning new techniques. Also, most people don't have the honor of acquiring a black belt from a Gracie either.

I think it's really disrespectful for a martial arts website to belittle a fighter of Rashad's caliber to say he didn't "earn" his belt.
AnDeRsonDaSiLvA
1/4/10 5:46:03PM
cowcatcher : Vinny got his black belt in 2005 after he won the Super Heavyweight and Absolute division at brown belt . So when jake fought vinny , vinny was a black belt and had 3 world championships (one as a bluebelt and two as a brown) .


Now he receives his black belt in just over 4 years which would lead some to believe that his jiu jitsu is on par with Fighters.com and UFC Lightweight Champion “Prodigy” BJ Penn (15-5-1) who received his black belt in three years.


Touching on the quote above ... Rashad was already an elite level athlete when he started training jiu jitsu , doing two a days 6 days a week . Wrestlers also tend to pickup jiu jitsu far quicker then your average person . Its not hard to believe rashad could accomplish this .
BeeR
1/4/10 5:47:12PM
For 2 black belts, I sure as hell didnt see any jiu jitsu on saturday.
I thought sure as sh*t Id finally see some of Silvas BJJ put to use because I knew Rashad was going to revert to wrestling for this match, But I guess he's been brawling for so long he[*edit* Silva] forgot he knew BJJ.
scoozna
1/4/10 6:04:32PM
Meh...he's saying, I think, some things that are in the backs of our minds, but with no evidence that Rashad is lacking BJJ skill, it's a bit presumptuous. He should back it up more if he's going to say it.
cowcatcher
1/4/10 6:14:27PM

Posted by AnDeRsonDaSiLvA

cowcatcher : Vinny got his black belt in 2005 after he won the Super Heavyweight and Absolute division at brown belt . So when jake fought vinny , vinny was a black belt and had 3 world championships (one as a bluebelt and two as a brown) .


Now he receives his black belt in just over 4 years which would lead some to believe that his jiu jitsu is on par with Fighters.com and UFC Lightweight Champion “Prodigy” BJ Penn (15-5-1) who received his black belt in three years.


Touching on the quote above ... Rashad was already an elite level athlete when he started training jiu jitsu , doing two a days 6 days a week . Wrestlers also tend to pickup jiu jitsu far quicker then your average person . Its not hard to believe rashad could accomplish this .



ok, i thought you were saying vinny had 3 black belt world championships and i was thinking he was way too young for that.

ill agree that wrestlers have an easier transition into bjj as ive been down that road, but 4 years to earn a black belt from scratch(no prior BJJ experience) is incredibly fast, even if you are in the gym 4-5 days/nights a week. i have a problem with this as a guy who has been involved in the martial arts for years because the carefree handing out of belts has taken something away from the honor of it. more and more schools are handing belts out to make their gyms look more prestigious(ie our school has produced 15 black belts so come here to train because we must be the best) and to keep people coming back, and in reality its something that should be handed out when the teacher believes the student is at that level, not for any other agendas.

rashad got his belt from a legit instructor, no one can argue that point, but to me it sure seems like it was more of a "heres another accolade because you are a top MMA guy" handout than something that came with a wealth of knowledge he acquired and uses in the cage. im sure he works hard at his bjj, and is very good(even though he has shown only rudimentary BJJ in the octagon) but IMO that there are a ton of guys out there that dont have black belts that have far more pure BJJ skills than rashad. i guess without putting him in there in a tournament against them thats just conjecture though.
CwB
1/4/10 7:56:27PM
Is it ever meaningless when a Gracie gives a Belt... It does seem ridiculous that there are so many Blackbelts out there that could not choke out a Paraplegic. But one thing you have to think about is Who that belt is coming from. I mean I went to school with so many Karate black belts they received when they were 13, who were all pansies, but if I ran into someone with a blackbelt under Machida I would be scared shitless...

The important thing is where it came from and how much they accomplish with.

Rashad has never been submitted and passed Silvas gaurd a lot and received his belt from a gracie. I would call it a Mc-Blackbelt.
warglory
1/4/10 8:10:20PM

Posted by CwB

Is it ever meaningless when a Gracie gives a Belt... It does seem ridiculous that there are so many Blackbelts out there that could not choke out a Paraplegic. But one thing you have to think about is Who that belt is coming from. I mean I went to school with so many Karate black belts they received when they were 13, who were all pansies, but if I ran into someone with a blackbelt under Machida I would be scared shitless...

The important thing is where it came from and how much they accomplish with.

Rashad has never been submitted and passed Silvas gaurd a lot and received his belt from a gracie. I would call it a Mc-Blackbelt.



Would or would not?
CwB
1/4/10 8:27:15PM

Posted by warglory


Posted by CwB

Is it ever meaningless when a Gracie gives a Belt... It does seem ridiculous that there are so many Blackbelts out there that could not choke out a Paraplegic. But one thing you have to think about is Who that belt is coming from. I mean I went to school with so many Karate black belts they received when they were 13, who were all pansies, but if I ran into someone with a blackbelt under Machida I would be scared shitless...

The important thing is where it came from and how much they accomplish with.

Rashad has never been submitted and passed Silvas gaurd a lot and received his belt from a gracie. I would "NOT" call it a Mc-Blackbelt.



Would or would not?



oops i Meant would not
AnDeRsonDaSiLvA
1/4/10 8:52:30PM

but IMO that there are a ton of guys out there that dont have black belts that have far more pure BJJ skills than rashad

agreed but it ultimately comes down to


i guess without putting him in there in a tournament against them thats just conjecture though.


Look at a great wrestler like jonny hendricks . He has been training jiu jitsu for 3 years and hes already tapping out blackbelts in a gi . Most likely those guys had far more pure BJJ skills but ultimately lost because of jonnys strength , explosiveness , takedowns and positional understanding .

From the limited grappling footage of Rashad , he showed some nice passing against lambert , destroyed forrest guard and handled thiago . Its hard to doubt rashads belt considering i havent rolled with him or watched him roll in pure bjj .
sbulldavid
1/5/10 10:33:36AM
What you know and what you use are two different things. Every fighter has a different comfort level and skill level. How many would know Jorge Gurgel is a blackbelt by watching his fights. Jiujitsu is a small part of MMA even though in certain situations it's everything, Rashad uses his Jiujitsu to complement his wrestling and stand-up where as Damian Maia uses it as his offense and his defense.
Kpro
1/5/10 11:29:56AM

Posted by sbulldavid

How many would know Jorge Gurgel is a blackbelt by watching his fights.



Beat me to it on the Gurgel point. Some guys just don't use their high level BJJ offensively for MMA and if you're wrestler, chances are you won't need to use it defensively either.

I don't need to see it in an MMA-rules fight to judge whether someone deserves it or not.

I don't think any of us could speak intelligently on this topic against him getting the belt just because of lack of use in MMA fights.
jiujitsufreak74
1/6/10 12:35:58AM
i just want to commend AnDeRsonDaSiLvA on his knowledge of JJ and his well argued points, i was unable to write that in his props so i wanted to say it publicly

anyway, i agree with those defending Rashad. we don't know what his JJ level in in pure grappling, and, as others have said, if a Gracie is backing you that belt is legitimate. he has obvious grappling ability, and as a talented wrestler he can pick up JJ rather quickly. also, i am a big proponent of no-gi JJ and i think it is absurd to say that you need to be trained in a gi to have the skills of a black belt. just because he has not attempted any submissions in MMA has absolutely 0 influence on whether or not he deserves a black belt. people have to realize that JJ and MMA are two completely different animals and that if a Gracie is backing up Rashad, i will consider him legitimate.
tepid55
1/7/10 12:22:27PM
If Rashad got his blackbelt from Rolles Gracie, it's legit.
dstlvb
1/7/10 4:27:25PM
Ive told the guys i watch UFC fights with for a while now that saying a guy is a BB means nothing. You need to know who gave it to them. I think Rashad is simply the guy at the time we can point to that we feel represents what is happening in BJJ. An instructor in my area got his BB from a big name Gracie even though he had won no major comps from Blue Belt on. While my instructor won mulitple world championships at all belt levels and it took longer for him to get his BB. Is my instructor better. Maybe. They both might have aquired the same knowledge, but he might not be good in comps. My instructor is going to get a higher level of respect since he proved it. I sense Rashad and alot of guys coiming along now are going to be looked at as lower tier BB until they do it in BJJ comps.


warglory
1/7/10 5:51:44PM

Posted by dstlvb

Ive told the guys i watch UFC fights with for a while now that saying a guy is a BB means nothing. You need to know who gave it to them. I think Rashad is simply the guy at the time we can point to that we feel represents what is happening in BJJ. An instructor in my area got his BB from a big name Gracie even though he had won no major comps from Blue Belt on. While my instructor won mulitple world championships at all belt levels and it took longer for him to get his BB. Is my instructor better. Maybe. They both might have aquired the same knowledge, but he might not be good in comps. My instructor is going to get a higher level of respect since he proved it. I sense Rashad and alot of guys coiming along now are going to be looked at as lower tier BB until they do it in BJJ comps.






Or gogoplata your ass in the Octagon, that would make me a believer. hehe
BustedKnuckle
1/7/10 6:13:16PM
Wow you guys have beaten this one to death. As a hardcore fan I have to BELIEVE that the Gracie lineage would carry some weight here, and Rashads belt is legit.
scoozna
1/8/10 2:49:13PM
Rolles weighs in here ...but I don't think he really sheds much light on anything.
Jackelope
1/8/10 4:09:25PM
There are plenty of black belt jiu jitsu guys who don't have the most stellar submission output. However, their control and avoidance of subs is definitely something to be reckoned with. I think the idea that someone has to pull off subs back to back in the Octagon a la Demian Maia in order to be considered a legit black belt is incorrect.

When you face a truly great BJJ practicioner you will not be able to do anything. They'll always control the position and they'll always nullify your attacks. From what I've seen of Rashad he does both of those pretty well. Am I saying he's on the level of BJ Penn or Demian Maia? Hell no. But do I think he's black belt level? Hell yes. I guarantee you that if you put Rashad into a black belt competition he would hold his own. He might not win it all, but just being able to win a match or two in competition vs. other black belts says something about your skill level.

Besides- I bet Rashad has put more work into his BJJ in those 4 years than most of those guys who train for 6 years to get theirs do. He's a full time fighter.
Pookie
1/9/10 4:13:27PM
This is similar to the Jon Fitch blackbelt situation . If you cant submit them, than they deserve the belt in my opinion.

Granted ive seen Rashad out grappled by Hoger, but that was awhile ago and i would hope rashad has improved that part of his game since then.
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