Alex Davis, who would later end up being Gomes’ manager, recalled hers together a troubling, though not exceptionally uncommon, story among poor children in Brazil.

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“Her parents offered her to an additional poor family, then that household started having actually kids, and also they offered her far to a religious institute in Sao Paulo,” Davis said. “She ended up to run away native that, and also she came to be basically a homeless street urchin. She fought. She cleaned windshields and shined shoes. She was really homeless, just scraping by.”

Back in those days, Gomes said, she never ever knew if she’d it is in dead or alive at the end of the day. It wasn’t until she discovered jiu-jitsu the her life adjusted for the better. It is also about the time she obtained clean, after 3 months in a rehab clinic. That’s as soon as she met Jorge “Macaco” Patino, that told Gomes that she must readjust her life or else shed it altogether.

“‘Macaco’ witnessed my potential,” Gomes said. “He was one of many human being who helped me so I could get away from drugs. I wouldn’t have made that without their help.”

But as soon as Gomes headed turn off to Rio Heroes, she no tell Patino. She to be afraid, she said. She wasn’t certain he’d approve. At the very same time, that wasn’t choose her options as a woman fighter in Sao Paulo were limitless. She’d traveled around Brazil for miscellaneous jiu-jitsu tournaments, Gomes said, however attempts to publication an yes, really MMA fight had actually fallen with at the last minute. When she heard around Rio Heroes, and about this fight versus a man, it didn’t sound therefore bad. It also sounded prefer it could not be completely legitimate.

“When ns was an initial told about it, it to be my understanding that that wouldn’t it is in a real fight,” Gomes said. “I thought we’d be pretending come fight for a movie. I didn’t understand that much around fighting. When I arrived, I found out this was for real. I wasn’t sure I have to be law it. Climate I discovered out I might get 250 American dollars come fight and also $250 an ext if ns won. That’s a the majority of money in Brazil. A the majority of MMA occasions in Brazil just pay a portion of that. I figured I’d make part money also if i lost.”

The male behind it was Jorge Pereira, that at the time had begun making a name for himself as the purveyor of an secret street-fighting scene, a return to the blood-and-guts days of Brazil’s vale tudo tradition just as MMA was starting to get mainstream acceptance about the world. That Pereira who have the right to be viewed in the video clip wearing the “No Rules” shirt, just in situation there was any type of doubt around what the viewer is about to witness.

Although authorities would at some point shut down Rio Heroes the following year, at the time the collection was in “a pilot stage,” according to Pereira. It to be controversial appropriate from the start, and remained so until its demise. Even some fellow Brazilian fighters who had come increase in the vale tudo scene alongside Pereira were against it.

“I observed it top top TV, and also I began to cry,” Wanderlei Silva called Sherdog.com, before warning the if nothing to be done to halt Rio Heroes, “it will be the end of ours sport.”

“The early on Rio Heroes events were pilot illustration to gauge attention in what us were doing,” Pereira called 2175forals.com. “The cards had a better intensity than established MMA, due to the fact that we had actually no gloves and also no time limits. We would constantly say ‘anything deserve to happen.’ so we chose to book a woman versus a male to prove that our promo would truly break every barriers.”

One that those barriers, apparently, to be record-keeping. Prefer Gomes, Pereira doesn’t recall the surname of the male who agreed come this unique fight, just that he was a local muay Thai kickboxer and also instructor who lacked even a basic knowledge that jiu-jitsu.

“He was certainly captured by surprise,” Pereira said. “The truth is, he had no idea exactly how to fight on the ground.”

Of course, Gomes didn’t know that at first. Together with the various other fighters, she proved up come the gym “after-hours” and also waited for things to gain started. She wasn’t certain what come expect, but as long as it ended with her being paid at least $250, she figured she can handle it.

Then Pereira lugged her onto the mat opposite she opponent, surrounded by other competitors and also spectators, plenty of of lock filming the activity on their very own cell phones. She to be so excited she couldn’t was standing still, however she likewise had no idea exactly what was around to happen. To be she really going to fight a man? to be he really going come fight she back?

Then Pereira provided the signal, and also it to be on.

“In reality, at the begin of the fight, that was simply playing,” Gomes said. “He was going easy at first, to check out what I had actually to offer. After ns punched in, that kicked me difficult on the thigh. My foot wobbled. Then i realized the he to be trying to knock me out. I made decision I essential to make it through this. This was no game.”

It was after that kick to the thigh that Gomes acquired her first takedown the the fight. As soon as the fight fight the little square of slim blue carpet on the floor, that didn’t take her long to realize the her enemy was lost on the ground. She moved quickly into complete mount and also then do the efforts to strike with punches indigenous the peak position. Yet as her enemy covered up, Gomes found she couldn’t do much damage.

When her opponent rolled she over, she locked up a triangle choke native the bottom. Her enemy reacted the means most civilization would when caught in a choke the didn’t completely understand: that picked she up and also slammed her down as hard he could. That’s around the time the Gomes started to worry.

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“Some human being thought the was fake,” she said. “There’s nothing fake around that guy picking me up and tossing me back down, hard. I came down on my spine. I can have broken my back. I thought he was crazy.”

By the moment they both got earlier to your feet, the male was feather bloodied, a small tired, and more than a little concerned. The shouting indigenous onlookers just got an ext urgent, voices crowding each other out until it to be one unintelligible mass the sound. By this point, Gomes to be committed. She felt like she was in a fight for she life, and it was a emotion she to be not totally unfamiliar with. She easily got an additional takedown, and this time she resolved to discover from her earlier mistakes.

“I wasn’t sure I might punch the effectively because my hands to be so little by comparison, for this reason I made decision to headbutt him,” Gomes said. “I knew I can hit him harder through my head and also open the up. He started panicking because he had no jiu-jitsu. That’s when I was able to isolate an arm.”

As Gomes straightened the end her opponent’s arm, he gave a single tap. The room exploded v cheers. Even Pereira can be checked out literally jumping because that joy. Gomes resolved for rojo over and also giving the mat a slap, but inside, she said, “I to be elated.”