Road to Worldwide Fame
As early as the 1990s, Grappling Fight Team has been dominating the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) arena in Brazil. GFT’s fame catapulted from being country-wide to worldwide in 2010 after a series of excellent international-level results and its continuous production of high-level fighters. GFT gave birth to well-known fighters like Rodolfo Vieira, Vitor Oliveira, Ricardo Evangelista, Denilson Pimenta, Italo Lins, and many others.
Humble beginnings in Rio de Janeiro
It all began at the Universidade Gama Filho in Rio de Janeiro which is famous for its Physical Education course and sporting teams. In 1978, Fernando “Pinduka” Guimarães, a postgraduate student and physical education coach, made a monograph about the insertion of Jiu-Jitsu into the University curriculum. Pinduka was a Carlson Gracie black belter and a believer in the academic benefits of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tuition to the school.
Unfortunately, the request to offer BJJ in the university was denied by the board, who had been dominated by a Judo lobby. The petition was handed three more times–in 1988, 1990 and 1992–until Jiu-Jitsu finally made its way into the university curriculum by 1993. Pedro Gama Filho, the then-School Director who was a Judo and BJJ black belt himself, was instrumental in this monumental change.
Growth of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Teams
By 1996, the BJJ academy was up and running at the Taquara Campus in the Northern area of Rio de Janeiro. Pedro Gama Filho and Paulo Jardim coached at the university for a short while before handing the job in the capable hands of Master Júlio César, Marcus Bello, and Alexandre Baraúna. These three men took on the management of the jiu-jitsu program while Gama Filho and Jardim stayed behind to provide financial support for the team.
Due to the immense growth of the BJJ team, the camp needed a larger facility and was transferred at Campus Piedade, which is also under the Universidade Gama Filho. Soon, other branches of the team opened in Bairro Vila da Penha, and then in Aracaju (capital of the state of Sergipe) under the leadership of Coach Marcus Bello.
With the passing of Pedro Gama Filho in 2004, the team lost the sponsorship of the University. They then decided to move the headquarters from the famous Campus Piedade to Bairro do Méier, but kept its Gama Filho name.
The Birth of Grappling Fight Team
By 2007, the majority of Universidade Gama Filho’s competitors began transitioning to Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). To avoid potential confusion and a false connection to this new sport, the university decided to rename the team. This led to the current name Grappling Fight Team (GF Team).
About Grappling Fight Team
- Name: Grappling Fight Team
- Year Founded: 2007
- Founding Father: Julio Cesar Pereira
- Main Achievements: Brazilian Teams Champion (4x), Rio Open Team Champion (2011), State Champion (Rio)
- Head:Quarters: GFTEAM Méier (Rio de Janeiro)