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Rio Heroes: MMA or street fight?

I’m sure, by now, many of you have heard about or seen ads for Rio Heroes, a fighting organization out of Brazil. The fights feature bare knuckles brawls in a makeshift cage, and according to this report from MMA Insight writer, Andre Fernandes, no tapouts:

The most controversial and hated fighting organization in the world, Rio Heroes, made its 9th event this month in Brazil. Known to be a return to the famous Brazilian Vale Tudo bloody origins, Rio Heroes is a bare knuckle organization with no time limit and almost no rules. Only the “rules of honor” apply — no eye gouging, striking the groin or biting. With no crowd, the events are broadcast live on the Internet through a pay-per-view website which also features cock fighting and bikini girls armed with military weapons. The first editions caused a huge uproar in Brazil due to the lack of rules and the injuries the fighters sustained because they couldn’t tap out. The referee, and mastermind behind it all, BJJ black belt and former Vale Tudo fighter Jorge Pereira (7-4-0), gives instructions to the athletes during the fight encouraging them to destroy and massacre their opponents, even when they are nearly unconscious on the ground. Though they now have a “low budget” cage, the first events were held in gym rooms and fighters often fought up against the walls, breaking windows and brawling through the glass. Another factor that contributed to public disapproval was the fact that fighters came from poverty and frequently stated that they were only fighting for the money. This was true even in the case of a female fighter who then proceeded to beat her male opponent.

While I don’t agree with what kind of “show” Rio Heroes is putting on, they are entitled to do their own thing. Would I like to see tapouts added? Absolutely. Do I have any control over it? No. I’m sure plenty of street fights with less rules than this go on all around the world.

What I have a problem with, however, is how Rio Heroes is being marketed. For awhile, the promotion had huge banner ads on I have not seen one recently, but they were promoting a free internet fight card recently and lots of promos were all over Sherdog’s website.

As we all know, is now officially affiliated with ESPN. ESPN is mainstream, which means a lot of your casual fans end up reading news from Sherdog or being redirected to their website. Is Rio Heroes the kind of organization that Sherdog really wants to be advertising on their website? For a sport that has come so far over the last few years here in America, the violence and true bloodsport nature of what Rio Heroes appears to be, is something that could turn fans off of MMA in general.

  • Someone says:

    I saw Rio Heroes and it is not as violent as true Vale Tudo. In fact, some UFC fights were more brutal than Rio Heroes.

    Well-Done. Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  • Kris says:

    As far as the ads go they served some on as well. I didn’t get a chance to see the fights but if there ads were any indication I can’t say I am or would be a fan of them at all.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  • SpiderSilva says:

    Wanderlei Silva said he cried when he heard of this event because of the damage it does to the sport. has no shame as witnessed when they released the result to one of the TUF seasons halfway through the show.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  • dizzle says:

    def. brutal show…I’ve purchased the dvd’s and it’s really brutal..but hey it’s generating revenue. This could put a bad impression on all MMA organizations…

    If i were sherdog I wouldn’t allow advertising of this type of stuff o ntheir site.

    but hey they advertise felony fights on pay-per-view…whats the world comin to?

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  • RDukes says:

    I’m curious, how are the fights decided? Knocked unconscioius? Referee stoppage (and under what circumstances can they step in?)?

    Looks pretty brutal.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  • ted dibiase says:

    a woman beat a man? cmon

    this sounds retarded. whod pay to see this crap?

    howd sherdog become involved with espn? everyone in the mma community knows sherdog is garbage

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  • Brent says:

    Rio Heroes is excellent – track it down if you haven’t seen it yet.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

  • Adam Morgan says:


    What makes it excellent in your eyes?

    I know a lot of people say that “this is what the sport should be,” but I really just don’t see it.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  • jjdnb says:

    Coming from a third world country that has extreme poverty, i see why these guys would subject themselves to this. A beating hurts but being hungry, or worse watching your kids slowly starve to death is worse.

    I say let them do it. They are adults and if they chose to fight, then let them. Its easy to sit around eating double quarter pounders from McDonalds and judge these guys for trying to make a living.

    Well-Done. Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  • Adam Morgan says:

    This has nothing to do about whether or not they should be allowed to do it. Like I said, I’m sure worse things go on.

    The issue I have is with Sherdog for pimping it on the front page of their website. All of ESPN’s MMA content comes from Sherdog, so a lot of casual fans end up on that site. If they watch Rio Heroes or click on an ad, they may be turned off to all off MMA due to the brutality.

    I have no problem with them doing it, especially if they changed the rules just a bit, but Sherdog pimping it is where the issue lies.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  • Brent says:

    “What makes it excellent in your eyes?”

    You get to see the real outcome of positions and situations that would cause stoppages in more rule-oriented orgs.

    You begin to realize that lots of guys in organized sportfighting, even some champs, would never get out of the minors in NHB.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  • Sevket says:

    I hate this type of things and they have banners all over in

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  • Hans says:

    Regardless of what anyone says, these guys are tough.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  • Ryan B says:

    The way i see it is what made pride better then the UFC was the rule diffrences. Head kicks, knees on a downed fight etc. made pride stand alone in MMa. I enjoyed RioHeroes and will continue to do so. They shopuld be able to advirtise where ever and when ever. If RioHeroes could atttract well name fighter it would be the shit.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  • ski says:

    wow a lot of you guys are pussies. now i havent seen the first few events but the ones i have seen were not that bad. wasnt even close to some of the felony fights i seen. its the fighters choice to fight and no one is forcing you to watch it. i’m glad its being advertised because ufc is way too restricted thanks to the retards at the nevada athletic commission. wanderlei silva shouldnt talk if he even said that because hes fought in similar true vale tudo organizations which i’m sure at times were more brutal. i hope rio heroes does turn off the fans that think its too brutal because they are the ones ruining mma. how come no one complains about how gay gracy’s hold there submissions several seconds after the match is called. now thats dishonorable. at least most rio heroes fighters fight with honor. long live rio heroes. Carlos ‘Stonehands’ Santos rules!

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  • […] just as much commentary as it is reporting. Prior to selling out, the site featured two very negative articles on the promotion. One of those articles even had the gall to call out Sherdog for carrying […]

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  • Jordan says:

    I have watched all the newest Rio heroes fights and some of the old ones. I must say I find it very interesting being a MMA fan. I can see that they are slowly growing and getting bigger. Its a sad thing to hear that the fighters are poverty stricken and they are only fighting for money but there are many worse things going on in the world. I for one would probably fight for money rather than do a lot of other things if I was likely to go hungry. I dont think its prudent to blame the organisation for this. As Rio heroes grows, I hope that we see them invest in their equipment and location, I think its popularity will bring other fighters from many places to compete and it will get bigger and bigger. I like the fights even though they are brutal, its real fighting. Broken hands and ribs. I have seen many, many tap outs so its BUll that they dont happen. I have seen the REF stop many matches as well as soon as one opponent gets completely overpowered. I think its going to get very very popular.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  • ArtC says:

    I am not promoting not discouraging these types of fights but my question to all those who object to this organization. Do you stop wearing or purchasing certain brand of shoes or clothing (i.e. nike) becasue of who they have making them in small sweatshops. It is so easy to say how we should not wathch or promote these fights but really, if these men are providing for their families this way then that is what they have to do. Most fights i have seen are not as brutal as it is made it out to appear. The first UFC’s were bad then it was cleaned up. We should allow the same and see where it goes.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  • kirk mcquest says:

    Nearly everything stated in this article is an exaggeration or completely untrue. These fights are less brutal than most mma venues. Rio Heros is great.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  • Fausto says:

    Well guys… i think you all are missing the issue here. First, this kind of “sport” (if it could EVER be called that) is forbidden in Brasil (yes, i´m brazilian). Second of all, the fights are not entirely shown on DVD and, some of them are not shown at all – due to the brutality. The brazilian press is investigating the Rio Heroes business and it´s not legal.

    The fighters earn about R$700,00 (U$350,00) per fight, winning or losing. So, thats not a fortune; in fact, thats not enough money to support a family here. Despite the fact that the organizers, especially Jorge Ferreira, states that this guys fight for pride or honor, most of them say they fight for the money, one day at the month, and them keep up on their “day jobs”.

    Today, 31/01/2008, “Folha de São Paulo”, one of the largest brazilian newspapers, made a piece on Rio Heroes ( and i´m sure, they will not be “legal” for much longer… and Rio Heros will be broadcasting from some other hell hole in the latin-americas.

    There are many ways of defending the sport, but not like Rio Heroes does it. They are getting unqualified fighters, street bums or criminals, jail muscle man and rio police officers (corrupts as they only can be) to make this happen. This is a disgrace, and worse, it puts the good fighter, the one that works his way on a clean and regulated sport in the mud.

    PS: Sorry for the sloppy english guys.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  • MMAfighter says:

    Im a small time MMA’er out of lubbock Tx
    I watched a trailer of this stuff. The fighters dont look very trained. You’ve got small guys trying to slug it out with people twice their size while their against the cage instead of pulling guard, or double legging, or clinching. These guys dont know what they are doing. Some of them even looked roided up. I didnt see any taps and a couple of guys were holding their arms after some ugly armbars.
    None of that would be such an issue with me exept for the fact that these guys are not trained at all.
    But like a said, i only watched about 10 minutes of highlights.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  • MMA Overload says:

    Events like Rio Heroes (vale tudo) is the foundation of what MMA is based upon. So quickly it seems that people, even fans, forget.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  • JASTREB says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Weak-Sauce. Thumb up 0 Thumb down 10

  • PUGKING says:

    RIO HEROES is an EXCELLENT Show and very safe. The competitors are very skilled and well trained for Vale Tudo.

    If you want to watch Bruce Buffer, Joe Rogan, and American reality shows, watch the UFC. MMA (current UFC owners) is a USA evolved sport to make money…period….and those fighters that want a cut have to abide by the USA rules. The UFC created by Rorion Gracie was Vale Tudo and was intended to find out which martial arts was the most effective. Some events in Japan and even the USA have different rules that the UFC, which are closer to Vale Tudo.

    If you want to see some brutality watch boxing or K-1….oh I forgot, those events are ok in your eyes and don’t seem bad because they fighters wear gloves. The glove is worn to protect the hand not the head! Not only that, the hand wraps is intended to make the punch stronger by making the hand stronger. No additional protection should be allowed….but another contradiction for the UFC and other USA shows….as they don’t allow shoes, GIs, or even native american war paint! (GO RUBEN!!) But protect those hands so you two guys can beat the living daylights out of each other :). Hey we’ll get a spectatular knock-out (brain jutting) for the highlight reel to be shown over and over again. We wouldn’t want the crowd to be bored and loose gate and PPV money by having two guys in a Vale Tudo fight on the ground winning by submission. Better yet let’s stand the USA mma guys up when they are on the ground….never restart on the ground when it is just two guys dancing around each other for the duration of the TIME LIMIT!

    If you have not see RIO HEROES….then do not comment on it….otherwise enjoy RIO Heroes just like us other true sportsman.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  • glenrod says:

    i have not seen rio heroes yet but am a great fan of vale tudo and the first ufc,s.the only people complaining about it are probably the same people who think chris leban is cool.and vanderlei silva nearly cried did he? hmm i wonder how many times he cried after he,d finished headbutting and soccer kicking and stomping (and smiling whilst doing it) his opponents?. wake up fake ass ufc pro wrestling fan boys.i have been a fan from day one when mma was pure and i cant stand you little shits saying how you think mma should be.go and watch fuckin wwe or boxing because you moaners are truly a stain on mma.all of the fighters know the risk and like someone above said you dont have to watch it.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  • Reaser says:

    Another view, its funny how people are complaining about rio heroes being promoted on websites yet they are fine with youtube legend Kimbo Slice being the face of MMA….ridiculous

    either way, Rio Heroes is great, more like the old school days but still, I wish someone would find a good medium between Rio Heroes and old PRIDE rules…

    Today’s unified MMA rules have too many rules, I believe there should be some, but the way it is now is ridiculous…

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  • glenrod says:

    ridiculous indeed.they should at least keep soccer kisks and stomps because A they are more entertaining and B they allow the fight to flow more naturally.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  • Leonidas says:

    Ridiculous comments here by your typical UFC nuthuggers, stop comparing it to cockfighting you morons, cocks dont give consent to be sent to fight, these guys do.

    Second UFC has become rule bound bullshit to satisfy yank pussies like Mccain, and some of these rules (like not allowing soccer kicks which Pride did) have nothing to do with safety and everything to do with commercialization and acceptance based on what Americans consider “honourable” (fighting illegal wars and dropping bombs on Iraqis based on phoney reasons is apparently not so “dishonorable”). They actually increase the risk of brain damage to fighters, for example having rounds means the fighters can both regain some of their energy and punch each other more all the while dumb yanks think it promotes “safety”.

    Funny you pricks are saying the same stuff about Rioheroes and Vale tudo that morons like Bill O’reilly say about UFC, talk about irony, you keep selling out and create more and more bullshit rules to be accepted by losers like him, one day you will end up with some bullshit similar to Olympic taekwondo.

    And finally, stop being such ungrateful traitors, there would be no UFC today if there was no Vale Tudo, don’t forget the roots in the craze to be accepted by what the mainstream in US considers “acceptable”.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1


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