Creator of World League Pro Jiu-Jitsu, Fernando Lopes, Fepa, is revolutionizing the gentle art in Brazil. On his second year working with WLPJJ, the black belt will award the champions of its four editions of 2010 with over 200 thousand Brazilian reais. After the major success with SP Cup and Manaus Cup, the league will return to Sao Paulo on the 21st and 22nd of August, and Fepa is excited about it. “National Cup will have the same award as World Cup, which is the biggest championship of WLPJJ, giving 60 (US$ 30) thousand Brazilian reais in cash, and World Cup will give 100 (US$ 50) thousand Brazilian reais in cash. That shows we’ve grow and increased the value of the prizes, and now we can share our success with those who make it possible”, said, talking about the work he has been doing and a lot more.
What did you think of Manaus Cup in general?
Manaus Cup was a success. We had 450 athletes registered and the people present could participate of an organized competition, a new format of tournament for Manaus, with a reward of 30 thousand Brazilian reais, paid in cash, besides the fruit table for the athletes and a scheduled which was followed word by word, with no delays.
You have organized two events this year. What are you thinking of WLPJJ’s growth?
I believe the growth was huge, but we hoped for it, we did our parts, worshiping the athletes with cash rewards, fruit tables, and we’re always trying to bring them something to drink, we have electronic scoreboards, we’re broadcasted by the channel Combate, and we have full coverage from TATAME, it’s everything every athlete could wish for. You can see that WLPJJ revert the success we have having to the athletes, you can notice that this year’s National Cup will have the same award as World Cup, which is the biggest championship of WLPJJ, giving 60 thousand Brazilian reais in cash, and World Cup will give 100 thousand Brazilian reais in cash. That shows we’ve grow and increased the value of the prizes, and now we can share our success with those who make it possible, which are the athletes that prestige us.
What the expectations for National Cup?
It’s like I said, National Cup will have a 60 thousand Brazilian reais reward, besides the high quality medals and the belts for adult black belt absolute champion. The expectations are high, because we have the goal to have 1200 athletes disputing it… I believe it’s possible. We’re really working on it, and I’m sure we’ll be prestigious with great Brazilian teams.
Last year, names like Bia Mesquita, Michelle Nicolini and Bernardo Faria, all world champions, fought on National. How do you predict to be the register of great names on this year’s edition of the event?
I believe that World Cup 2009 and SP Cup 2010 showed great names currently registering themselves on the events. We can count the names you quote plus the Mendes’s brothers, Delson Pé de Chumbo, Bruno Malfacine, who fought in all of them, Pablo Silva, Theodoro Canal, Mário Reis, Lucas Lepri, Gilbert Durinho, Cláudio Caloquinha, Bruno Frazzato, Eduardo Telles, Alexandre de Souza, Ceconi, Orlando Zanetti, Murilo Santana, Thiago Alves, Adriano Silva, Leonardo Nogueira, Daniel Azevedo, Claudio Godoy, Luis Felipe Big Mac, Roberto Godói, André Marola, Luanna Alzuguir, Gabrielle Garcia, Michelle Tavares, Claudinha Gadelha, Rodrigo Cavaca, Marcus Buchecha… Wow, you can see that the elite of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu have been on these editions, besides the foringers Mike Fowler and Jonathan Torres… This year, on the stage of 4 and 5 of December, I hope I can count on great names that live in all countries where Jiu-Jitsu is broadcast, because the schedule of calendar of Jiu-Jitsu is closed and some athletes take December off to stay with their families in Brazil, and they can win 5 thousand Brazilian reais on the black belt category and 10 thousand on the absolute dispute. With this reward it becomes viable for the foreigners to come and have their shot here too.
How do you see the importance of this cash reward to Jiu-Jitsu currently?
I believe that Jiu-Jitsu’s competitions are a way for the athletes of the sport to have some benefit of it. You can see that CBJJ makes competitions with no cash reward, but the athlete who has a title of Mundial of CBJJ starts to have international visibility, so that can sign MMA contracts with significant scholarships, besides the seminars around the world. WLPJJ doesn’t have that tradition yet, but we make our part benefiting the registered athletes with scholarships which also help them a lot. I believe that Jiu-Jitsu has become huge around the world and its athletes and black belt coaches should have their lives stabilized, living form the sport, giving classes and seminars and competing. If that happens, I believe that a professional athlete of Jiu-Jitsu can plan a training knowing he will have a significant financial support.
What news does National Cup and World Cup, the next competitions to come, will bring for this year’s edition?
I believe that the main attraction will be the awards to be given. The big news is that the values are higher, it’ll be 60 and 100 thousand Brazilian reais, respectively. And another new thing is that it’ll be broadcasted on the internet on TATAME TV, and with that continuing to happen, I believe they can be even better than they were last year, which I though that was a great year for the events too, but I think we get better because we learn things from our mistakes and that takes time.
How are the registrations going? Can you tell us some confirmed names?
The registrations are opened and it should be done on the website www.soucompetidor.com.br. I can’t tell you names yet, but I’ll know it better when it’s close to the end of the registration’s period, because the names were sent to a general verification which happens on the days 11 and 12 of August. On the check, the athlete himself can change some mistake made on his register, how many times he feels like. On the 13th, it’s done. I’d like to take this opportunity to send my invitation to all athletes of Jiu-Jitsu to be there on August 21 and 22 on Colégio Magno (Magno’s School, which is on Duque Costa St, 164, Sao Paulo). I’m sure you’ll see an amazing competition.