Old School: Female MMA fighter vs. male Muay Thai instructor – with no rules
If you are on the UG, you probably remember that crazy female vs. male no-rules fight on YouTube. You may recall too that it was part of the crazy Rio Heroes events that were eventually shut down by the authorities. It was a return to the craziest days of the sport, with stomps, headbutts, no gloves, and this once, a woman fighting a man. You may even know that that woman was Invicta bantamweight Ediane Gomes, 36.
What you don’t know is the full story, as until now, it hasn’t been told. Thanks once again to Ben Fowlkes and MMAJunkie!
Earlier in her life, Gomes was a drug addict living on the streets of Rio. Her life changed when she met Jorge “Macaco” Patino, himself a veteran of some of the craziest vale-tudo fights ever. At the time of the video, Gomes was trying to break into the MMA business, and the $250 to show and $250 more to win offered by Rio Heroes owner Jorge Pereira was a massive incentive.
Her opponent was a Muay Thai instructor, who, luckily for her, had virtually no ground skills.
“I was out of control,” said Gomes in her native Portuguese. “All I (could) think about was getting high, and getting into trouble out in the streets.”
“I was passed around as a child. Some took care of me, others didn’t, and others left me in the streets.”
“‘Macaco’ saw my potential. He was one of many people who helped me so I could get away from drugs. I wouldn’t have made it without their help.”
“For me, fighting was survival. I came from the streets. I grew up fighting in the streets to survive. Imagine being paid for a change.”
“When I was first told about it, it was my understanding that it wouldn’t be a real fight. I thought we’d be pretending to fight for a movie. I didn’t know that much about fighting. When I arrived, I found out this was for real. I wasn’t sure I should be doing it. Then I found out I could get 250 American dollars to fight and $250 more if I won. That’s a lot of money in Brazil. A lot of MMA events in Brazil just pay a fraction of that. I figured I’d make some money even if I lost.”
“In reality, at the start of the fight, he was just playing. He was going easy at first, to see what I had to offer. After I punched in, he kicked me hard on the thigh. My leg wobbled. Then I realized that he was trying to knock me out. I decided I needed to survive this. This was no game.”
“Some people thought that was fake. There’s nothing fake about that guy picking me up and tossing me back down, hard. I landed on my spine. I could have broken my back. I thought he was crazy.”
“I wasn’t sure I could punch him effectively since my hands were so small by comparison, so I decided to headbutt him. I knew I could hit him harder with my head and open him up. He started panicking since he had no jiu-jitsu. That’s when I was able to isolate an arm.”
“I had managed to get clean off drugs, fight a man, and win. I had dreams of fighting jiu-jitsu on the world stage. It was also great to get the $250 to show and $250 to win. A lot of the Brazilian media made it seem like we were being exploited, but a lot of other competitions would literally pay nothing, by comparison. Maybe what I did wasn’t right, but at least we got paid.”
Gomes has come now as far as has anyone in mixed martial arts. And she has a lot of fans.
“After I lost (to Tonya Evinger at Invicta FC 8) I could hear a man’s voice in the crowd telling me I’m a good person,” said Gomes. “Often when I meet fans, they hug me. I’ve been told that even if we don’t speak the same language, they can tell I’m a good person. I’m treated very well in the United States. There’s no money in the world that can measure up to that.”