The infamous phrase ”If Sambo was easy it would be called Jiu-jitsu” went viral in 2013 when Khabib Nurmagomedov wore a t-shirt with the phrase printed on it while in Brazil for a fight. The message drew ire from the Brazilian fans, who were offended at the belittling of their national martial art. The real mastermind behind the stunt was BRAVE CF Super Lightweight Champion Eldar Eldarov who convinced his childhood friend Khabib to wear the T-shirt while cornering him for that bout.
Eldar will now face off against another Brazilian, Leonardo Mafra, who is widely known for his muay thai skills, but is a proud recipient of a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and eager defender of the ”gentle art”.
After seeing the phrase “If Judo was easy it would be called football” he was inspired to make a similar phrase referencing sambo and Jiu-Jitsu. So when Khabib was set to face Brazilian Thiago Tavares in Brazil, Eldar decided that the world should see the new phrase.
“The person who put this phrase on the t-shirt was me. I got the idea for the phrase when I went for Judo training and saw someone wearing a t-shirt with the phrase ‘If Judo was easy it would be called football’. I was set to go to Brazil to corner Khabib at the time. So I bought a black T-shirt and printed the phrase on it. He wore it on the weigh-ins.” Eldar said.
“As soon as we got back to the hotel and turned on the wi-fi, we were bombarded with messages from people talking about the T-shirt. It became very controversial, some people even went to the extent of giving death threats. It wasn’t intended to be offensive, it was just a joke. At the end of the day, we respect all sports”
A sambo master himself, Eldar is a Sambo World Cup Silver Medalist. He will face his well-rounded adversary Leonardo Mafra on January 16 in Sochi, Russia. The Super Lightweight Championship belt is on the line for this main event bout, as the fastest-growing MMA organization in the world lands in Russian soil for the first time to kick off its 2021 campaign.
Russia will become the 21st country to host a BRAVE CF event, a feat achieved in little over four years of operations, something never done by any other mixed martial arts organization.
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a retired MMA fighter and Kickboxer.