Lucio Lagarto, the black belt from Gracie Barra, is an inspiration. He has won the Europeans multiple times, World Pro and more importantly, he has beaten cancer.
Lagarto has never been able to compete in the US where the 2 biggest competitions are held: the Pan and the Worlds. He has had his US visa application rejected 7 times.
Fightinglifestyleuae.com caught up with highly accomplished BJJ competitor Lucio “Lagarto” Rodrigues during his visit to the UAE to compete at the AL Ain Jiu-jitsu Open. Since the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation started it’s initiative to implement a ranking system for its international Grand Slam tours and local events, Lucio Rodrigues Lagarto is one the top black belts to take up the challenge to compete in all the UAEJJF events. A cancer survivor and World Champion, Lagarto talks about why he has decided to take part in the UAEJJF events and what he aims to achieve at the end of the season.
In addition Lagarto expresses his disappointment with the US visa restrictions, which cost him the opportunity to compete in and potentially win the IBJJF Worlds.
“I have been fighting the Worlds for many years, since the Worlds moved to America, I tried to get my visa and I never got it. I got my first denied visa during the attack on September 11 at the World Trade Center. I don’t know, since then they still keep rejecting my visa one after another. When you mention that my name was one of the favorites to win the Worlds, I have to hold my tears because that’s my dream. It’s a dream for every Jiu-jtsu athlete to win that title, and when they take this from you and you don’t even have a chance to try, its quite sad. You know I have overcome a lot of things in my life but this is something that really frustrates me, because that is a big part of my history. They deny my visa with out even checking my papers. I am sad about it but I will not give up.”
In addition Lagarto talks about his academy in Fulham, London and how Roger Gracie and he have played a role in the competitive arena in the UK.