The World Vale Tudo Championship

The World Vale Tudo Championship (“WVC”)[1], headquartered in Beverly Hills, California, was a “no-holds-barred” fighting promotion founded by visionary promoter Frederico Lapenda.

In 1996, Lapenda debuted the first of what would be a groundbreaking MMA franchise. The WVC paved the way for the Pride Fighting Championship (“Pride”) franchise in Japan and WVC was the platform that brought rise to fighters like マーク・ケアー, イゴール・ボブチャンチン

, ペドロ・ヒーゾ, ヒース・ヒーリング, アレッシャンドリ・カカレコ Ferreira and many others which then leveraged their WVC success into careers with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (“UFC”) and Pride. The WVC events[2] were all centered on 8-man single elimination tournaments with most having an additional “Superfight” main card. The WVC[3]’s rules were 30-minute round (no gloves no biting, no eye gouging no fish-hooking).

Lapenda was an Executive Producer for Glory World Series[4]. It was his access to other global promotions[5] that enabled Hall of Fame[6] Lapenda to land the newest and best talent[7] to participate in the WVC. Often times credited as one of the “Godfathers” of what is now known as mixed martial arts (“MMA”), introduced many of the promotions which are now leveraged by the major MMA promotions, including broadcast television & pay-per-view (“PPV”) exploitation, women’s fights. YouTube’s first MMA[8] (“PPV”) and the first true “Fight Island[9]” with fights taking place on the beach in Aruba. Lapenda is credited for introducing the first “complete” fighter to the combat sports industry. "The first modern MMA fighter, one who could punch, kick and grapple, was Marco Ruas. He was the template for all those who came later. It was the marketing genius of Frederico Lapenda who packaged Marco Ruas as, "The King of the Streets" and paved the way for him and the generations of cross-trained fighters who followed him." アート・デイビー, the Creator of the UFC®

Lapenda also produced two golden-standard documentaries utilizing the fight footage and access to fighters over the WVC’s existence. “The Smashing Machine,” which was produced for HBO, focused on the life and tribulations of MMA heavyweight Mark Kerr. “Rites of Passage: The Rebirth of Combat Sports” (directed by Bobby Razak and co-produced by Craig Caryl) gave audiences an insight into the minds and lives of the extreme MMA fighters.


The first event, WVC I[10], took place on August 14, 1996 in Chiba, Japan at the NK Hall Bay Auditorium in front of a capacity crowd. This was a special event as it was the first time a non-citizen of Japan promoted a local MMA event, but also included three of the first six UFC champions headlining the card (Steve Jennum (UFC 3), Oleg Taktarov (UFC 6) and Marco Ruas (UFC 7)).

WVC II[11], took place at the famous Maksoud Plaza Hotel in in São Paulo, Brazil and was broadcast live on SPORTV, the most popular sports channel in Brazil. WVC II featured the much-anticipated rematch between UFC 6 Champion Oleg Taktarov and UFC 7 Champion Marco Ruas (which ended in a draw after 30 minutes) and was the first time a UFC Champion fought in Brazil.

WVC III[12] saw the introduction of “ground and pound” star Mark Kerr. Prior to WVC III, Brazilian jiu-jitsu (“BJJ”) fighters had always fought fighters of all sizes, but after that event in which famed a BJJ black belt star Fabio Gurgel fought an incredible battle for 30 minutes against someone 50 pounds heavier than Gurgel. The BJJ fighters realized that they could no longer give weight to their opponents. WVC III was also introduced into the market as a pay-per-view (“PPV”) to Brazilian television.

In WVC IV[13], Lapenda’s card hosted the biggest revenge bout between Brazilian Vale Tudo rivalry, Jose “Pele” Landi vs Jorge “Macaco” Patino. These two fought in the 8-man tournament and the Superfight featured UFC 7 Champion Marco Ruas and UFC 2 runner up, Patrick Smith. WVC IV expanded its PPV to be broadcast in the United States and was the last MMA PPV in the United States (for 2 years) due to prohibitions placed on MMA spearheaded by Senator John McCain.

While UFC’s business was suffering due to the lack of PPV revenues and Senator McCain’s success at getting UFC banned in all 50 states, the WVC was thriving and it became the #1 event in the world. Lapenda issued a challenge in April 1997 through Black Belt Magazine[14] to the UFC for a co-promotion that pitted each promotion’s top fighters in what would have been the most complete card ever seen in MMA. Lapenda suggested a card between his fighters Marco Ruas, Pedro Rizzo, Hugo Duarte, Bas Rutten, Fabio Gurgel would fight UFC’s Mark Coleman, Dan Severn, Don Fry, Ken Shamrock, and Jerry Bolander. The UFC never replied.

WVC V[15] introduced Ukrainian kickboxer, Igor Vovchanchyn, who would rule over the heavyweight division for years to come. Vovchanchyn won all three fights in the 8-man tournament via KO/TKO, including a brutal 14-second knockout in the final over Mark Coleman’s protégée, Nick Nutter, an NCAA All-American Wrestler from Ohio State.

WVC VI[16] took place in Salvador in Brazil and the tournament was won by Travis Fulton who has fought an almost an unbelievable number of fights, over 320 times, and Igor Vovchanchin won the Superfight.

WVC VII[17] featured a USSR vs. Brazil and the 8-man tournament was won by Maxim Tarasov, the fight card, included one of the most controversial and anticipated fight in Brazil's history and had the highest TV ratings on SporTV. Edson Carvalho who was trained by the Death master Antonio Lacerda claimed to have a special technique to win the super fight against Igor Vovchanchyn but lost.

WVC VIII[18], taking place at the Havana Beach Club in Aruba, marked the true first "Fight Island". The cage for WVC VIII was 10 meters from the Caribbean Sea. With fighters from across the globe, Alexandre “Cacareco” Ferreira won the 8-man tournament and Hugo Duarte won the Superfight, both representing Luta Livre, a famous Brazilian fighting style. Great fights on the beach were not the only thing that came out of WVC VIII, it also included Lapenda teaming up with Bas Boon to form Golden Glory, a MMA fighter management outfit that would assemble one of the most formidable stable of fighters in the sport and included Semmy Schilt, Alistair Overeem, Marloes Coenen, Sergei Kharitonov, Gokhan Saki, Errol Zimmerman, Jon Olav Einemo, Ashwin Balrak, Nieky Holzken, Chalid Die Faust and Alexandru Lungu who have fought in numerous fight promotions such as K-1, Pride, Strikeforce, and the UFC. As gambling was legal in Aruba, it was Lapenda and Boon’s goal to start opening up casino backed wagers on these fights.

WVC IX[19] was full of surprises one of the first times woman fought Vale Tudo, Chute Boxe Academy introduced Fabio Piamonte, Rickson Gracie's legendary heavy weight Stephanus Miltasakakis had his debut and Heath Hearing who was runner up on WVC VIII won and signed with Golden Glory.

WVC X [20]went back to Brazil crowned a great new fighter, Eli Soares, who had a great future, but went to jail for killing a person on a street fight and the super fight was won by Martin Malkhasyan. WVC XI had fighters from Russia, US, Brazil, Kazakhstan. Amar Suloev won the event on a dramatic final against Andre Semenov.

WVC XI, in Racife, Brazil and featured a tournament final between Russian power houses: Andrei Semenov (who went on to be a UFC star) and Amar Suloev (who died a short time later due to stomach cancer). Suloev won by way of a rear-naked choke in less than 2 minutes to win the WVC XI tournament belt. WVC XII[21] witnessed the emergence of Moacir "Boca" Oliveria's prestigious MMA career as he took down the field of the 8-man tournament. The great Francisco Bueno won the Superfight and was awarded the belt by John Daly, the storied movie producer (whose films grossed over $1.5 billion) and co-promoter (with Don King) of the famous heavyweight boxing match “The Rumble in the Jungle” between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, John Daly. WVC XIII[22] saw the legend Daryl Gholar win the tournament and immediately retire while still in the ring by removing his wrestling shoes. Mario Sukata, an understudy of Carlson Gracie, defeat Seth Petrucelli in a very tough fight for the Superfight win. WVC XIV went back to the Caribbean and took place on the beach in Jamaica at the luxurious Grand Lito Braco Resort. The was centered on a Brazil vs USA theme where Phillip Miler won the tournament and Stefanus Miltsakakis the Superfight.

Date Winners
WVC I[23] (8/14/96) Tournament winner Richard Heard / Superfight winner Marco Ruas
WVC II[24] (11/19/96) Tournament winner Pedro Rizzo / Superfight draw between Marco Ruas vs Oleg Taktarov
WVC III[25] (1/19/97) Tournament winner Mark Kerr / Superfight winner Pedro Rizzo
WVC IV[26] (3/16/97) Tournament winner Johil de Oliveira / Superfight winner Marco Ruas
WVC V[27] (2/3/98) Tournament winner Igor Vovchanchin
WVC VI[28] (11/1/98) Tournament winner Travis Fulton / Superfight winner Igor Vovchanchin
WVC VII[29] (2/2/99) Tournament winner Maxim Tarasov / Superfight winner Igor Vovchanchin
WVC VIII[30] (7/1/99) Tournament winner Alexandre "Cacareco" Ferreira / Superfight winner Hugo Duarte
WVC IX[31] (9/27/99) Tournament winner Heath Herring / Superfight winner Stefanus Miltsakakis
WVC X[32] (5/27/00) Tournament winner Eli Soares
WVC XI[33] (5/7/00) Tournament winner Amar Suloev / Superfight winner Martin Malkhasyan
WVC XII[34] (6/9/01) Tournament winner Moacir Oliveira / Superfight winner Francisco Bueno
WVC XIII[35] (6/9/01) Tournament winner Darrel Gholar / Superfight winner Mario Sukata
WVC XIV[36] (3/7/02) Tournament winner Phillip Miller / Superfight winner Stefanus Miltasakakis


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  14. ^ Inc, Active Interest Media (April 1997) (英語). Black Belt. Active Interest Media, Inc.. 
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  16. ^ (英語) World Vale Tudo Championship 6 11-1-98, 2021年3月11日閲覧。 
  17. ^ (英語) World Vale Tudo Championship 7, 2021年3月11日閲覧。 
  18. ^ (英語) -World Vale Tudo Championship 8 7-1-99, 2021年3月11日閲覧。 
  19. ^ (英語) World Vale Tudo Championship 9 9-27-99, 2021年3月11日閲覧。 
  20. ^ (英語) World Vale Tudo Championship 10 5-27-00, 2021年3月11日閲覧。 
  21. ^ (英語) World Vale Tudo Championship 12 6-9-01, 2021年3月11日閲覧。 
  22. ^ (英語) World Vale Tudo Championship 13 6-9-01, 2021年3月11日閲覧。 
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  33. ^ “WVC 11 - World Vale Tudo Championship 11”. Sherdog. 2020年7月29日閲覧。
  34. ^ “WVC 12 - World Vale Tudo Championship 12”. Sherdog. 2020年7月29日閲覧。
  35. ^ “WVC 13 - World Vale Tudo Championship 13”. Sherdog. 2020年7月29日閲覧。
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