The third Copa Company, held in 1986, featured a match deemed mind-blowing by many BJJ fans of the time. Not only were two excellent fighters going head to head, but the fight represented a big break in tradition. In a recent interview with Rickson Gracie, Luca Atalla asked this question:
"There was this match against Rigan Machado, who is your cousin. You were very important to the knowledge of his brother Jean Jacques Machado. Many people don't know, but during your career as a fighter, you were always teaching—teaching regular days, and fighting during the weekends. And, as far as I know, you invited Jean Jacques to follow your classes; so you'd teach a private and you'd train a little bit with Jean Jacques between the classes, and that was like this for a while. I'm interested to know how traumatized you were to see Carlos Gracie Jr. pit Rigan against you, and how this affected you in teaching other members of the family after that."
You can see the first part of Rickson's answer here.
Enjoy the second part below.
"Gracies don't fight Gracies; based on our practicing at home, we know who's better; and we don't compete for the public; we compete internally; and at the tournament, whoever is the champion will be raising the arm, and there's no confrontations; that's always been, like, a traditional aspect of it. So, when Carlos told me I should fight Rigan, I kind of disagreed and said, 'Man, why're you gonna do that?' He said, 'Yeah, because the sponsor needs to know, and he needs to see the final match,' and I said, 'I don't care about the sponsors; I care about our legacy, our tradition, our friendship, our brotherhood, so I should not fight him.' 'No, but-but-but-but...'
"'So, Carlos, if you wanna make the fight, okay, so you're gonna do it. I will be in the ring to fight, no matter what. And if he's coming to fight me, make sure he's coming prepared, because it's not gonna be easy; it's gonna be a serious fight, and I'm gonna do my best to beat him as quick as I can.' So, with this being said, we fought, and with less than three minutes, around three minutes, he was already tapping in the chokehold. And after the fight he was already feeling very bad; he apologized; he said he didn't feel good about fighting, but he was pressured to fight; and I accepted that as a very respectful, a very honorable apology; and we followed life in that same pattern.
"I was not disappointed in the fact that Rigan fought me; I was disappointed with the fact Carlos pushed Rigan to fight me. I didn't feel good about it. But I keep following life, keep training, keep teaching other guys; and this never really changed my perspective of teaching other Gracie family members; I always keep my mind open to accept, to accommodate anything. But the logistics of things and the situation never kind of never put me in direct contact with other members of the family which I could be supporting, also, if the logistics, the things permitted. But it never happened. But, you know, great times, good experiences, and in the end, jiu-jitsu wins."