The MMA fanbase was sort of up in arms over the announcement that Rashad Evans had earned a Jiu Jitsu black belt from Rolles Gracie the day of his fight with Thiago Silva. I for one, was unaware he was that high up the rung in his Jiu Jitsu training to even be close to a black belt, especially from a Gracie.
Renzo Gracie in a brief interview (GracieFighter) cleared up some of the details concerning Evans’ promotion to black belt.
“It was a recognition from Rolles that Rashad should compete in the highest categories of gi-less grappling competitions. In the Gi-less World Championships for example you cannot compete in the Blackbelt division no matter how long you’ve been grappling unless a certified instructor gives you a belt for that division. Can I say that Rashad has worked his way up in the correct belt order with a gi? Of course not and I don’t think as a pro fighter he will be doing gi tournaments anytime soon. I differentiate between gi and gi-less and apparently Rolles found him ready for the belt in gi-less. I don’t think you should give someone a belt in a locker room. Not sure if that was Rolles’ idea.”
With that being cleared up it does seem to make a bit more sense, as it seems Evans went through a bit more of an non traditional route to a Gracie Jiu Jitsu black belt. I still want to see Evans display his Jiu Jitsu game in a fight, maybe we will see it against Rampage.
You can view the original story of Evans BJJ black belt announcement by clicking here.