From Bare Knuckle to Empire Runner.
The head coach and co-founder of one of the most successful MMA gyms in the world (American Top Team) is on his way to the Middle East. He will arrive next week March 22nd to coach one of ATT’s Heavy Weights Derrick Mehmem, and minister some seminars during his visit in the UAE.
Conan is well known from his time as Heavy Weight Champion from “Battle Cage Extreme Fighting “No Holds Bar” time , and UFC Japan tournament, but mostly for his successful career as the Head Coach of ATT.
Conan, a black belt from Master Carlson Gracie, arrived in the United Stated in the early 1989 with nothing in his pocket but a desire to succeed in the (that time) marginalized “Vale Tudo” style which later people called MMA.
Arriving in the United Stated with no money, Conan and his brother worked in many jobs, sometimes illegally, but always finding time to train. His first international appearance was in November of 1995 at Extreme Fighting 1. He eventually got the belt and staged great performance setting foot in an undiscovered territory of “No Rules” fight in the world. Conan was one of the first to stage what we called today MMA back when it was illegal in the United States.
Conan remembers when, after one of his victories, defending the “Belt” he was detained along with all the other fighters by local police for competing in a fight event. It was one weekend in jail, all charges were dropped a couple of weeks later, but it was a scary moment in life for the precursor of the fight sport we love today. We all owe this gentle giant this milestone in history.
ArabsMMA got exclusive access to the Jiu Jitsu Coral belt and here is the interview.
Master Conan, how was competing bare knuckle fights events and how do you cope with today’s rules in MMA?
I appreciate being part of an incredible MMA journey as a fighter/Coach. All the way from thd beginning, throughout all the changes, and still to witness what MMA can offer for us in the future. Much more to come.
Tell us about your history in Jiu Jitsu and MMA? How, when and why fight sports?
Since I was kid I never had any interest in any other sports. Not even in soccer where my roots are from. I always had my time filled with Martial Arts (Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Wrestling)
Your are a Carslon Gracie first generation, how do you see Jiu-Jitsu techniques nowadays?
Coming from an amazing school like “Carlson Gracie Team”, Carlson himself not only thought us the art of Jiu-jutsu, but to exercise the mind to always keep “OPEN”, to have a Mentality, Ability, and Humility to not get stuck in the past.
How do you see the growth of MMA and Jiu Jitsu in the middle east?
Part of being a Coach makes us to keep our eyes on everybody everywhere. I see a great potential in the middle east. Not only because everyone has a dedication to learn, but also because of the government’s great support and amazing job at schools.
UAE is on the top of the list with lots of rising “Stars”.
What’s your predictions for the next WPJJC?
As I said before, I expect “High Quality and Level” of BJJ
We know you are holding seminars in the UAE. What attendees can expect from Master Conan in a Seminar?
I always Believe that Teaching or Coaching techniques aren’t hard, what’s priceless is helping people learn, not only on the mats, but to learn for life.