It happened suddenly last night. Rumours started spreading on Facebook and various BJJ forums. Terere is in the UK - yeah he is - no he isn't - he's right next to me - you're bluffing - oh god, here's a picture...but how? and why?
I must admit, I'm new the whole Terere thing. I did not know who he was, mind you, when I first began BJJ, I did not really know who Royce Gracie was, so that doesn't say a lot about my BJJ history knowledge.
Here's what Wikipedia has to say about Terere:
"Tererê is said to be one of the most influential competitors of all-time, as well as the most entertaining. Much because of his aggressive and highly active style of fighting."And this from BJJ Heroes website:
"Fernando Augusto mainly known as Terere is one of the most charismatic Jiu Jitsu fighters to have ever stepped on the mat, this multiple time World Medallist was a top “Pound for Pound” best during the early 2000´s"
And wait, there's more. Check this stunning statistic:
"Despite being fairly light weight (weighing around 165 lbs) Tererê competed the 2004 Championships in ultra-heavy class (over 221 lbs) finishing second, only losing to Fabrício Werdum in the final by points."
So why the big deal, he's an awesome champ, but there are many awesome champs these days. Well, his story is a tale of a wildcard talent, a flawed hero, who took a slide down the wrong side.
This quote is from Tatame magazine in February 2009:
"Since he was arrested in the
United Statesin 2004, when it was held for two months due to a disagreement with the crew of the flight back to , Tererê alternated good and bad moments in life" Brazil
It's pretty open news that Terere's life sank into a spiral of drug addiction and depression. This, again, from BJJ Heroes:
"2004 was also the year that Terere’s world started crumbling beneath him, after being arrested in the USA supposedly for shouting abuse at an air stewardess, Terere fell into a massive depression induced by drug taking that led to dependence. His life has been incredibly shaky since then, as he abandoned the sport that he loved to live the life of a drug addict. In 2006 Terere moved to the North-eastern town of Natal on the state of Rio Grande do Norte, to escape the environment that was holding him in. He stayed clean for a while and started training again, however a relapse took him back to his crack dependence as he moved back to Rio de Janeiro."
But last year, reports surfaced that Terere was doing well in rehab. News sites and forums were abuzz with excitement as Terere was reported as saying he wants to get back to training and maybe even competing.
Charity events were held to support his rehabilitation. T-shirts were printed and the whole BJJ community waited.
Until now, this week, today, Professor Pedro Bessa, quietly, without fanfare, arranged the paperwork and visas for this people's hero to visit the UK for an extended stay of training, teaching and I suppose, just to get away from things. Fat chance at that last bit as already BJJ students are begging to host seminars or willing to drive hundreds of miles for the chance to train with the once-errant genious of the mat.
Who knows, maybe this ole 'Kat will meet him too and see what all the fuss is about.