Andre ‘Dede’ Pederneiras is one of the greatest figures in the history of mixed martial arts and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The Team Nova Uniao founder opened up Jiu-Jitsu to international students at a time when doing so was thought traitorous; BJ Penn and John Lewis got their black belts that way. And he opened up BJJ to poor Brazilians when it was largely an upper- past time. And he brought Dutch kickboxing into MMA in a major way, creating world champions like Renan Barao and Jose Aldo.
Now, in the face of the novel coronavirus global pandemic, while many of the world's leading fight gyms remain open for the pros, Dede is making sure his fighters stay at home.
“The word for my entire team is to stay home," said Pederneiras to Combate, as translated by Lucas Rezende for BE. "We have a group chat where there’s, like, a roll call every morning. Everyone has to reply and show they are home. We’re trying to do our part. If we do that, we can turn the game around. I’m making my arena available so people can use it as a temporary hospital.”
His protege former UFC featherweight champ Jose Aldo is scheduled to challenge bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo at UFC 250 on May 9 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and is making do as best as he can.
“[Aldo and bantamweight Ketlen Vieira] were training [at the gym] until about two weeks ago," said Dede. "Against their will too, because they think there should not be an event due to the situation. Ketlen has been training with [her wife] Giu at home. Aldo is doing what he can to hit some bags, jump ropes, and train with his wife. Everyone is home trying to stay in shape in any way they can. Is it ideal? No, but it’s necessary for the world.”