Andre “Dedé” Pederneiras is the co-founder and head trainer of Nova União, the Rio academy long known as home to some of the most decorated Brazilian jiu-jitsu competitors in the world — and, more recently, as one of the top camps in MMA. Jose Aldo and Renan Barão led that charge, winning UFC gold at featherweight and at bantamweight, respectfully.
Unfortunately, the camp has been under fire recently, with Barão forced to pull out of last week’s UFC 177 main event shortly before weigh-ins. Barão, who was coincidentally the 100th student to be awarded a black belt from Pederneiras, was reportedly removed from the show and hospitalized after fainting while trying to make the bantamweight limit of 135 lbs.
Pederneiras spoke to Combate on Saturday, where he explained exactly what happened Friday in Sacramento, and why there are no plans for the former champion Barão to move up in weight.
“There were two pounds left to make 135 and it was still early here in Sacramento, around 1p.m., and he just had to go down to the arena around 3p.m.. We started the first rounds at the tub and, after approximately 20 minutes, when Barão was leaving the tub, he completely fainted. When he was going down, I held him, but he had so much cream on him, (he slipped) and his head touched the wall. We laid him on the ground but, from that moment on, he stayed out for a long time. That made us really scared. At the same time, we called UFC’s doctor and they called an ambulance.
When the paramedics came to our room, they checked Barão’s vital signs and decided to take him to the hospital to analyze the situation better. So they had no other option but to give him serum. When he had to go to the hospital, the UFC had to cancel the fight immediately. It was UFC’s option, and based on Barão’s situation, I saw no way how he could fight.
Pederneiras noted that Barão had fought in the UFC for years without a weight issue — with “the same process; the same for everyone in the gym.” The incident represents, he added, the first time a fighter had fainted and needed to be removed from an event in Dedé’s 18 years of experience.
He also adds, “Barão is completely fine now, at least physically,” and that there are no plans to move up in weight:
People say he should fight at featherweight. I know he’s big for 135, but we have the support of doctors and nutritionists, so I don’t see why changing divisions. What I see is that he needs more time between fights so he doesn’t have to do training camps for five-round fights one after another. His body really needs some rest.