Injured Marcelino Freitas out, Helder “Bob Esponja” in at Copa Pódio GP

Marcelino Freitas in photo by Luca Atalla

A Nova União black belt living in Australia, Marcelino Freitas is out of the December Copa Pódio in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Despite a pronouncement of his participation by the organizers, the André Pederneiras disciple has not yet recovered from a serious knee injury and will not be able to make the lightweight contest.

“The guys on my team were premature in confirming me for the championship,” Freitas told “I came to Brazil to take care of my knee, which has been injured for some time now. I hadn’t yet given my final answer to Jeferson, whose on the organizing committee, but I’d told him before I wouldn’t be able to make it. Dedé told me it would be really risky, since my knee isn’t 100%, but no problem, I’ll just have to wait till the next one.”

In filling the roster with star power, Copa Pódio’s organizers take into consideration results at domestic and international competitions, recommendations from the press, as well as public opinion. And in filling one of the last three vacancies,’s reading public played a key part. “The pick ‘Bob Esponja’ (CheckMat), for instance – besides him being a solid candidate –, was consolidated by the readers who voiced their opinions on’s comments board,” said co-organizer of the event Jeferson Maycá.

So the reader comments field isn’t just a way to put one’s two cents in, it’s a way to make big things happen.

Check out the provisory card for the December 17 tournament, and check back with to find out the last two names to complete the star-studded lineup;

Referring coordinators: Muzio de Angelis. Árbitros: Luciano Mendes da Silva, Flávio Roberto Ferreira and Alan Moraes

Soul Fighters (RJ) – Athlete: Augusto Mendes “Tanquinho”. Coach: Leandro Escobar “Tatu”

Cícero Costha (SP) – Athlete: Leandro Lo. Coach: Cícero Costha

GFTeam (RJ): Athlete: Denilson Pimenta. Coach: Julio Cesar Pereira

Alliance (RS): Athlete: Moacir Mendes Jr. Coach: Mário Reis

Gracie Barra (MG): Athlete: Cláudio Mattos “Caloquinha”. Coach: Romulo Barral

Renzo Gracie (NY): Athlete: Augusto Vieira “Tio Chico”. Coach: Felipe Pena

Lloyd Irvin (USA): Athlete: Jonathan Torres. Coach: Jimmy Harbison

Checkmat: Athlete: Helder Medeiros “Bob Esponja”. Coach: Ricardo Vieira

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