IMMAF president pays hommage to judo legacy of UFC champ Rousey

UFC women’s bantamweight champion, Ronda Rousey, has bestowed her belt on judo school and social project, Instituto Reação, in Brazil where it will now be permanently housed. This follows a surprise $30,000 donation from the star back in March to this non-profit school, which was founded by 2004 Olympic bronze medallist, judoka Flavio Canto. Rousey had been impressed when she had visited the judo school in September 2014 to teach a judo class to youths training under the social project. Rousey had also attained an Olympic bronze medal in judo four years after Canto. At last week’s media workouts for ‘UFC 190: Rousey vs Correira’ in Rio de Janeiro, Rousey echoed her native opponent in stating how she planned to leave the championship belt in a special place in Brazil: “Bethe did have one thing right.  She said that the Brazilian people deserve to have the belt left here. So I’ve decided that after I win it…I’m going to give it and make sure that it stays someplace in Brazil as my gift.” After stopping Bethe Correira in 34 seconds on Saturday night at Rio’s HSBC Arena, the undefeated champion honoured her word on Tuesday. IMMAF President and fellow judo Olympian, Kerrith Brown, commented: “To me this accolade to judoka Flavio Canto and his school speaks volumes of the value that Rousey attributes to judo as her inheritance. Rousey is one of the most dominant athletes of our times after dedicating many years of her life to the practice of judo, which has demonstrably shaped her as an athlete and as a person. To me, she is an embodiment of the defining role core martial arts can play in personal development, both physically and in the instilling of solid values. I believe that MMA and judo,as amateur sports, share these same intrinsic values; and that all martial arts belong to the same family.”
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Judokas Flavio Canto, IMMAF CEO Densign White, former President Bertrand Amoussou & President Kerrith Brown at the UFC in 2015
 

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