– Photo courtesy of Gracie.com: Carlson Gracie leg kicking Waldamar Santana
A very emotional Stephan Bonnar spoke with MMAWeekly Radio this morning about the death of Carlson Gracie and the impact of the loss to him personally and the Carlson Gracie Team.
“As of yesterday, everyone had good spirits. It looked like he’s going to pull this one out. The worst is over.” Stephan Bonnar commented about this morning’s news of Carlson Gracie’s death.
Carlson Gracie had been sick for a couple of weeks, but his death comes as a shock to the Martial Arts and Mixed Martial Arts communities. Carlson, reportedly, wasn’t feeling well every since Stephan Bonnar’s ‘Ultimate Fight Night 3,’ bout against James Irvin on January 16th.
Bonnar told MMAWeekly Carlson had been ill, “Ever since my fight. He got in the night before my fight, on Sunday. He said he wasn’t feeling good. He was sick. You could just tell he was sick. I thought he’d pull through and be all right, but he just got worse. He checked into the hospital last week and had a really bad infection, kidney stones. I guess he looked really, really bad, and they were surprised that he was able to pull through the worst. He was on the road to recovery as of yesterday, and then he passed away this morning.”
The emotional Bonnar added, “It sucks man, I mean, because he was always in such good shape. He was so healthy and vibrant. He got sick a few weeks ago. It just got worse and worse. I saw him yesterday. He looked bad, but they said he was looking a lot better, and he’s going to pull through, and the worst is over. Then, I got the call this morning, so it sucks.”
Stephan Bonnar has trained under Carlson Gracie since Carlson moved to the United States in 2002. Reflecting on his time with Carlson, Stephan commented, “What was great about him was he didn’t hold anything back. I know a lot of Jiu-Jitsu guys that will kind of save their best techniques. If you had a question, how do you defend this? He would answer. It really didn’t matter who you was, your first day of class. He was honest and open about it, his Jiu-Jitsu and about other things too. You know? He would give you the last dollar in his wallet. He was a real good person. I mean honestly. I just wouldn’t say that about anyone. Like a really, really good person Carlson was.”
The impact of Carlson Gracie’s life on Jiu-Jitsu and MMA is obvious. He trained Murilo Bustamante, Vitor Belfort, many of the fighters that are now Brazilian Top Team… but what will be the impact of his death be on the Carlson Gracie Team and his academy?
Answering that question, Bonnar said, “I really don’t know. I’m kind of sitting here with question marks. You know? What do I do from here? I mean, I’ve still got my guys to train with and that, but it does feel like something is missing. I’m all confused right now . . . It was just an honor to work with someone like him.”
You can hear the entire interview with Stephan Bonnar on the radio archive at MMAWeekly.com