In the Blue Corner With Jorge Britto
Mixed Martial Arts undeniably suffers from a case of mistaken identity. Granted the sport carries with it some positive momentum which is beginning to push the sport beyond its own confines into the realm of mainstream status. However, this encouraging direction is still in its infancy. We need to look no further than the rollercoaster of a struggle Ontario has been facing for the past decade. In the halls of society where the roster of TUF 11 does not make the cut as water cooler chat, the sport is still viewed as ‘Ultimate Fighting’ almost equating it to barbarism. That general assumption promotes the prejudice that a barbaric sport breeds barbaric athletes and fans. While there may be many ‘fans’ who consider themselves at the top of the casting list for the next installment of Never Back Down, very few fighters carry themselves that way. The respect, dedication and work ethic that training and competing produces are evident with most athletes in this sport and ‘Class Act’ is written all over Jorge Britto.
The native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, grew up in the city without an abundance of monetary means; however he isn’t one to gripe, “I can’t complain, I wasn’t rich but I had lots of love from my mother and from a lot of friends who also grew up with me. Rio is awesome – beaches, soccer, Jiu Jitsu from the source, what a blessing – we like to say ‘not much money but a lot of happiness!’”
While in Brazil, Britto studied under the tutelage of Royler Gracie and Saulo Ribeiro. Britto’s dedication to the art and to his training is evident as he was awarded his black belt while studying under Gracie and Ribeiro. Britto’s success as a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner was capped off with crowning achievements as a world champion no-gi competitor in 2009 along with a Pan Am Games gold medal.
Britto’s mixed martial arts career began in Brazil in 2004 and only since mid 2008 has he competed in Canada. He began competing in Canada because he now calls Toronto, Ontario home. Jorge was part of the famed Black House team in Brazil training alongside the likes of Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida, and Vitor Belfort. Why the switch to Toronto? “Saulo Ribeiro have his Jiu Jitsu association here at Toronto BJJ. He can’t be here full time, so Josh (the academy owner) asked Saulo if a black belt of his could be here for them and Saulo invited me, so here I am”, answers Britto who is now Toronto BJJ’s head instructor. Britto takes his coaching earnestly as is evident with his students’ recent successes at the Abu Dhabi Pro Canada Trials held last weekend in Montreal. Britto’s love of teaching and for his students is evident;
We are building a huge family here, I teach with love, and I feel they learn with love too, the reward is I know lives are changing and I’m part of that. Many times some students come all thankful for the changes in their lives, and this is amazing. Jiu Jitsu is great, and to help people is so good.
Britto sports a 10-6-1 record and all of his four fights in Canada have been under the CCF banner where he is currently the Lightweight champion. He most recently defended his belt at CCF’s fifth installment at the end of February with an impressive 37 second knockout win over Josh Kyrejto. Some might pass Jorge’s record off as mediocre, however he has faced the likes of Ronys Torres (0-1-0 UFC) and Rafael dos Anjos (2-2-0 UFC). Britto will next compete at W-1: Bad Blood in Montreal on March 20 against Jonathan Mix. This will be Jorge’s second fight within a month and although he finished off Kyrejto quickly, it is an eager pace – Britto explains, “…last year was a year that I had just one fight, but now this year I want to fight a lot and I’m really excited to sign up with W-1. I’m really happy and really thankful to Jack for giving me that opportunity and one thing that I can promise is that I work hard and they are going to have a very entertaining fight.” How does Jorge see his fight in Montreal playing out? “I’m there to play the game you know? I’m ready for anything. I’m improving my striking a lot, BJJ is something that is in my blood and my wrestling is pretty good – so whatever he wants to play I’m down for it.”
Jonathan Mix trains with Wanderlei Silva in Las Vegas and this really doesn’t jump out as cause for concern for the Brazilian. “I know he’s from Wanderlei’s camp and is a Muay Thai guy. But I’m pretty sure what he’s learning there, I’m pretty close to here – I’m training my stand up with Mauricio Veio…Andre “Dida”, Shogun, Xande and Saulo Ribeiro come often here to Canada, so we always get some good training!” Leaving Team Black House and replacing it with Toronto BJJ seems at first glance to be a step back in training, however Britto found the caliber here to meet his needs;
“I got surprised…there were guys there like Ainsley Robinson who is a world class wrestler and Claude Patrick, and Andre “Dida” Amade was there and it was pretty much the four of us sparring every day and training – and with Andre “Dida”? Nobody is going to give me a hard time like this guy does. To me he’s a phenom and I improve a lot under this guy.”
With the uncertain future of the CCF organization, will Britto fight again out West? “The future belongs to God…” answers Britto. Interestingly enough, throughout the conversation, Britto echoed a genuinely authentic enthusiasm and assured character. It was striking that he confidently left his future up to God – what role does Britto’s faith play in his life and in his fighting career? “God is everything for me, it doesn’t matter what I’m doing – it is all for Him. Since I started a deep relationship with God via Jesus – my life has had a lot of change. I like to tell people He opened my eyes. The mental power reflected in my training, in my job – there’s nothing like this.” It seems Britto’s commitment to his training, his students and his art is equaled by his dedication to his faith.
The 30 year old Britto shatters the narrow-minded viewpoint which the general public places on someone who gives and takes a beating for a living. Can it be attributed to his deep rooted faith or to his devotion to his art and students? Or is it a combination of these? Whatever it may be, Britto’s nice guy persona takes a back seat when that cage door closes, “…for me, I don’t care win or lose, I come to put on a show. I don’t do this for the money, I love to be inside the cage brawling.”
Editor’s note: According to information recently received by Top MMA News, it seems Britto will return to competition out in Edmonton in April sometime. Keep it tuned in to Top MMA News as we keep you updated.