Mixed martial arts fighter and former UFC
Heavyweight champion Ricco “Suave” Rodriguez was born August 19, 1977 in New York, New York. Even from his high school days, he was already a famous wrestler around New York. To expand his knowledge and to learn more fighting skills, he went to California and trained in the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a combat sport which concentrates on grappling. Rodriguez trained under former Jiu Jitsu world champion Rigan Machado and Jean Jacques Machado. He won several tournaments and earned the gold medal at the ADCC Submission World Championship.
His career in mixed martial arts started in 1999 when he fought at the Superbrawl 13 event held in Hawaii. He was later featured on The Smashing Machine: The Life and Times of Mark Kerr. The DVD documentary was produced by Mark Kerr and Bas Rutten, his trainers. Ricco Rodriguez also went to Japan, trained at the Takada Dojo and fought in PRIDE and KOTC sessions. He was successful in beating professionals John Marsh, Takayuki Okada and Gary Goodridge but felt that his status and earnings then were not enough. He returned to the US and was eventually invited to compete on the UFC. He has since appeared on numerous UFC bouts including Showdown in the Meadowlands, High Voltage, Throwdown, High Impact, The Warriors Return, Onslaught, Revolution and Ultimate Knockouts 3. When his contract with UFC ended, he appeared on WFA and WEC.
In 2006, Rodriguez tested positive for marijuana and cocaine. As a result, the California State Athletic Commission suspended him. He also created controversies at the International Fight League championship when he spit at fighter Ben Rothwell.
In 2008, Ricco Rodriguez
appeared on VH1's reality TV series Celebrity Rehab
. The show documents the experiences of celebrities as they undergo drug, alcohol and addiction treatment program. It chronicles their journey towards rehabilitation and recovery.
(Photo courtesy of pridefc.com)