|Sights and Supervillians|
Looking at the Golden Gate Bridge, glimpsing Alcatraz, I feel that our Brazilian trio is considerably happier, getting to spread their wings a bit instead of being cooped up in the hotel back in San Jose.
The minute we got to the bridge, all three hungrily held their hands out for quarters like excited children. Moments later, they glued their faces to the 25-cent binoculars.
"What do you think?" I asked the group.
"Reminds me of the movies," said "Jacare." "Like Sean Connery in 'The Rock.'"
"Oh! And like Magneto! Magneto? The X-Men! Magneto!" he exclaims at me. As he excitedly makes the X-Men reference, he pantomimes the way that Eric Magnus would use his electromagnetic force to wreak havoc. He seems quite thrilled to momentarily impersonate the supervillain.
Sometimes being a world champion just isn't enough, I guess.
While taking in the scenery of San Francisco Bay, we thought it might be opportunistic to shoot some video bumpers for the Sherdog MMA Fighter Exchange with Bettega, "Jacare" and Distak.
However, the small assignment proved more difficult than you'd imagine.
Your first instinct is to assume I'm talking to the language barrier, and the fact that Bettega and Souza are still learning English, while Distak is a complete novice. But no, instead, one amusing distraction caused a cacophony of laughter which made it hard to film anything.
On the paved concourses overlooking the beach, there was a portly Mexican gentleman, probably in his late 50s or early 60s, clad in a bright blue track suit. He lay on the ground, off in his own world of intensity and focus, diligently going through awkward exercise motions that his body couldn't quite handle.
At first, I silently chuckled to myself. Once “Jacare” cast his glance in the man’s direction, he erupted in laughter, infecting the entire party.
"He's training hard," the Strikeforce middleweight champion said between laughs. "American jiu-jitsu."
|Thoughts Of Home|
The scenery of San Francisco would be beautiful and profound for a lot of fighters. For our Brazilians, it just instigates homesickness.
Standing with Fernando Bettega, Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza and Josuel Distak, overlooking the glittering ocean and beachscape of San Francisco Bay, I asked the trio what they were thinking as they looked out into the water. All of them smiled back at me and said "Brazil."
The memory was more potent for Souza, whose seven-week-old son, Enzo Gabriel, is with his wife at their home in Rio, right on the beach.
"This ocean, it makes me think of my home, the beach, my family," he said, staring off.
As the day begins, I sense some ennui and malaise from our Brazilian trio. Well, at least two thirds of it.
Last night, I showed the group the pictures that Marcelo Alonso took of Jason "Mayhem" Miller and Pat Cummins in Rio de Janeiro for the Sherdog MMA Fighter Exchange. Seeing Cummins, and especially Miller -- a rival for “Jacare” on account of their two fights, especially the controversy that their second bout ended in -- getting to climb and travel to a whole variety of gyms, “Jacare” and Distak were starting to get a bit jealous.
Fortunately, the day will allow us to go to San Francisco, and enjoy the Bay scenery more prominently. We figured that getting to see the beach, standing on the Golden Gate Bridge, seeing Alcatraz and the like would lift their spirits a bit.
Of course, training is still on the menu: this evening in 'Frisco, the group will get a chance to step on the mats at Skrap Pack, the new gym of Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez.