The 9th degree red belt is the highest rank awarded to any currently living practitioner of Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
According to Renzo & Royler Gracie, in Brazilian jiu-jitsu the red belt is reserved “for those whose influence and fame takes them to the pinnacle of the art”. It is awarded in lieu of a ninth and tenth degree black belt. If a practitioner receives his or her black belt at 19 years old, the earliest they could expect to receive a ninth degree red belt would be at the age of 67. Brazilian jiu-jitsu red belt holders are often addressed within the art by the title Grandmaster.
There are currently 39 9th degree BJJ red belts and 5 10th degree red belts (original Gracie brothers) according to this verified list.
When on Tuesday, September 15th 2015, a unknown red belt in Jiu-Jitsu called Ubiratan Cordeiro (who does not figure on that list) promoted the 35 yr old Clayton Silva to red belt, the whole Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu community went crazy.
Social networks started sharing the pictures of the promotion and many comments from prominent figures of BJJ denounced the act as unacceptable.
Some of the translated Facebook comments:
Karina Jj Gracie – Impunity as always colaborating with banditry
Wellington Vilela Bjj – It turned into a mess
Joel Viana – Shameful, but that’s what we are seeing every day. It’s a pity but we see black belts walking around who don’t even know how to tie their own belts.
Andre Baka – Anyone can wear a belt, but knowledge is for the few. ossss
Mateus Almeida – You are f*** around yeah? F**** hell
Demetrius Cartagenes – Shame
Cesar Carceglia – I can see that also in Brazil there is this cancer. But the problem with this kind of people happens more often than we can imagine. I apologize for my Portuguese.
Alan Trindade – What the f**** is this man, you don’t even have enough age for this s*** and further you wear a red belt with 10 degrees. The red belt with 10 degrees is only for the Gracie family, check it on the website.
Adriano Ganzarolli – Man, you must be a real f***** Super Sayajin ahahahahaha
Ubiratan Cordeiro is the president of an obscure BJJ federation called Federacao Pernambucana de Jiu-Jitsu Interestilos.
Mr. Ubiratan left Pernambuco’s CBJJ/IBJJF, the recognized Federation (Federação de Jiu-Jitsu do Estado de Pernambuco / FJJ-PE), and started his own federation giving himself the highest BJJ title, the 10th grade red belt, but he is not recognized by the Jiu-Jitsu community over there.
Ubiratan Cordeiro’s strange slap boxing vale tudo fight back in 1994:
A Jiu-Jitsu match refereed by by Grandmaster Ubiratan Cordeiro. As you can see, it is BJJ: