The Brazilian Question

Brazilians “Post-USADA”

Hey, real quick. I’m just gonna throw this out there. You guys can say what you want. I mean yeah, Demian Maia looked good, but…since this, uh…I might take some heat for this, but whatever. Since this drug testing, anyone notice the ol’ Brazilians ain’t doing too well? Ever notice the people, the ol’ South America ain’t doing too hot since this drug testing thing? – Brendan Schaub August 2015

“He’s never failed a test, but who knows. You’re batshit crazy if you don’t think Jose Aldo’s body looked different. You’re batshit crazy if you think he’s gonna fight the same. Also, his camp, I think, is 1-7, 0-8 since this drug testing came out. So you’re talking about a different fighter, man. For me, that’s a huge X-factor.” – Schaub in November 2015

Ok, so its Brendan Shaub who if bull**** was made of gold would be a rich man, but he’s not alone in his thoughts.

It started as just dumb comments from users on message boards, the occasional blogger but in recent months has spread with even fighters stating in interviews that “Brazilians just aren’t the same.

Putting aside the famed “Eye-test” do the statistics bear out the suggestions of the near catastrophic collapse of Brazilian MMA?

Notes on these numbers

  • The numbers only include fighters that have been on the UFC roster since the start of the USADA program. So for instance, both Jose Aldo’s “post USADA” record and “pre USADA” record will be included but the results of for example, Pedro Rizzo won’t be because he retired long before the program started and so has no “post USADA” data.
  • For everything I do involving “pre” and “post” USADA the cut-off date will always be October 1st 2015 as this is when the unannounced, whereabouts based testing began. The program began in July 2015 but the first three months of the program were largely educational with very little testing conducted.
  • There may be small errors in the gym data. The problem with any data involving fighters and gyms is there tendency to move around, maybe be at one gym for a particular fight and then move back to another.
  • All “pre usada” data refers to Zuffa records only. ie. All UFC wins and losses, along with all Strikeforce and WEC wins and losses after their purchase by Zuffa.

Brazil post USADA record v other nations

  • Data only includes nations with 10 or more fights since October 1st.

In total 100 Brazilian fighters have been on the roster since October 1st 2015 and between them have a 91-85-2-1 record which puts the firmly in the middle ground a far as Win% goes. A little bit ahead of the US, and a wee bit behind Australia, Great Britain and Russia.

Nation W L T NC W% v Pre USADA
Poland 17 10 0 0 62.96% 4.14%
Mexico 20 13 1 0 58.82% -1.89%
Russia 22 17 0 0 56.41% -11.65%
Great Britain 23 20 1 0 52.27% -11.36%
Australia 15 14 0 0 51.72% -4.09%
Brazil 91 85 2 1 50.84% -14.32%
Sweden 7 7 0 0 50.00% -15.38%
Ireland 6 6 0 0 50.00% -28.26%
United States 252 258 7 3 48.46% -13.83%
Japan 8 11 0 0 42.11% -2.51%
Canada 12 17 0 0 41.38% -27.33%
Korea 6 9 0 0 40.00% -13.19%
France 2 8 0 0 20.00% -55.00%

Those same 100 fighters had a combined (zuffa) record prior to the implementation of the USADA program of 404-204-4-8, a win% of 65.16%, so yes, its arguable that there has been a drop-off in Brazilian performance, but no different to the drop-offs from the other top nations and can be explained by a number of factors, not least age of the fighters, a number of the Brazilian fighters being much older with less young fighters coming through (Anderson Silva being a great example – 17-2 Zuffa record pre-usada but now 0-2 in the last year).

Brazilians in title matches pre and post USADA

Another argument could be that they are losing more title matches, and so it appears that they are doing worse because of the number of high profile losses.

Pre USADA Brazilian record in title matches

Won Lost
Heavyweight 4 10
Light Heavyweight 4 5
Middleweight 13 4
Welterweight 0 2
Lightweight 1 1
Featherweight 8 0
Bantamweight 4 2
Flyweight 0 0
Women’s Bantamweight 0 1
Women’s Straw-weight 0 0

Total record – W34 L25 – 57% Win record

Post USADA Brazilian record in Title matches

Fabricio Werdum Lost v Stipe Miocic

Rafael Dos Anjos Won v Donald Cerrone

Rafael Dos Anjos Lost v Eddie Alvarez

Jose Aldo Lost v Conor McGregor

Jose Aldo Won v Frankie Edgar

Amanda Nunes Won v Meisha Tate

Claudia Gadelha Lost v Joanna Jedrzejczyk

Total record – W3 L4 – 43% Win record

Its another argument that doesn’t really bear out. Yes, they have a losing record in title fights “Post USADA” but the sample size is only very small. If for instance, Jose Aldo and Amanda Nunes were to win their next title defences, suddenly they would move to a 56% win record “post USADA” almost identical to their “pre-USADA” record.

Gym records

 Another thought is that the more high profile gym’s are doing badly, and this is reflecting on Brazil generally with people interpreting a gym’s poor performance as somehow being proof of all Brazilians doing badly.

If you break it down into gym’s, some are doing great. Constrictor team for example (Francisco Trinaldo, Rani Yahya, Renato Carneiro) are 6-0 in the last year. Demien Maia on a 3 fight run, and a lot of the smaller gym’s are in fact doing very well.

Pre 1/10/15 Zuffa Record Post 1/10/15 Zuffa Record
  W L T NC Tot Win% W L T NC Tot Win% +/-
Constrictor Team 19 8 0 1 28 67.86 6 0 0 0 6 100.00 32.1
CM System 0 1 0 0 1 0.00 3 0 0 0 3 100.00 100.0
Chute Boxe 3 3 0 1 7 42.86 3 0 0 0 3 100.00 57.1
Coalizao Fight Team 2 2 0 0 4 50.00 3 0 0 0 3 100.00 50.0
Maia JJ 15 6 0 0 21 71.43 3 0 0 0 3 100.00 28.6
Hard Fight 0 0 0 0 0 N/A 2 0 0 0 2 100.00 N/A
Gracie Fusion 1 1 0 0 2 50.00 2 0 0 0 2 100.00 50.0
Parana Vale Tudo 4 3 0 0 7 57.14 2 0 0 0 2 100.00 42.9
Alliance MMA 3 2 0 0 5 60.00 2 0 0 0 2 100.00 40.0
Epic MMA 1 0 0 0 1 100.00 2 0 0 0 2 100.00 0.0
NFT Castanhal 1 1 0 0 2 50.00 1 0 0 0 1 100.00 50.0
Silverback Fight Club 2 2 0 0 4 50.00 1 0 0 0 1 100.00 50.0
Black House 16 8 0 0 24 66.67 2 1 0 0 3 66.67 0.0
The Armory 10 3 0 0 13 76.92 2 1 0 0 3 66.67 -10.3
Gold Team Texas 3 0 0 0 3 100.00 2 1 0 0 3 66.67 -33.3
Evolucao Thai 8 3 0 1 12 66.67 3 1 1 0 5 60.00 -6.7
Tata Fight Team 5 3 0 0 8 62.50 7 5 0 0 12 58.33 -4.2
X Gym 13 2 0 0 15 86.67 4 3 0 0 7 57.14 -29.5
Blackzilians 20 10 0 0 30 66.67 5 4 0 0 9 55.56 -11.1
Kings MMA 34 21 0 0 55 61.82 4 4 0 0 8 50.00 -11.8
011 MMA Team 2 2 0 0 4 50.00 1 1 0 0 2 50.00 0.0
ATT Atlanta 3 3 0 0 6 50.00 1 1 0 0 2 50.00 0.0
Bronx’s Gold Team 4 3 1 0 8 50.00 1 1 0 0 2 50.00 0.0
Team Link 10 10 0 0 20 50.00 1 1 0 0 2 50.00 0.0
Marcio Cupim Team 4 3 0 0 7 57.14 1 1 0 0 2 50.00 -7.1
Marajo Brothers Team 8 3 0 1 12 66.67 1 1 0 0 2 50.00 -16.7
Pitbull MMA 3 1 0 0 4 75.00 1 1 0 0 2 50.00 -25.0
Top Life Amazonas 4 1 0 0 5 80.00 1 1 0 0 2 50.00 -30.0
Nova Uniao 58 17 1 0 76 76.32 11 18 0 0 29 37.93 -38.4
ATT 63 34 0 2 99 63.64 7 11 0 1 19 36.84 -26.8
Team Tavares 9 8 1 0 18 50.00 1 2 0 0 3 33.33 -16.7
Macaco Gold 8 5 0 1 14 57.14 1 2 0 0 3 33.33 23.8
Renzo Gracie Academy 8 4 1 0 13 61.54 1 2 0 0 3 33.33 -28.2
Jackson-Wink 8 4 0 0 12 66.67 1 2 0 0 3 33.33 -33.3
Team Nogueira 28 12 0 1 41 68.29 2 5 0 0 7 28.57 -39.7
MMA Masters 0 0 0 0 0 N/A 0 2 0 0 2 0.00 N/A
Astra FT 1 0 0 0 1 100.00 0 2 0 0 2 0.00 -100.0
Gile Ribeiro Team 0 0 0 0 0 N/A 0 1 1 0 2 0.00 N/A
MMA Lab 0 0 0 0 0 N/A 0 1 0 0 1 0.00 N/A
Herman Gutierrez Team 0 1 0 0 1 0.00 0 1 0 0 1 0.00 0.0
Nova Uniao Manaus 0 1 0 0 1 0.00 0 1 0 0 1 0.00 0.0
Evolve MMA 2 2 0 0 4 50.00 0 1 0 0 1 0.00 -50.0
Caveira Team 2 1 0 0 3 66.67 0 1 0 0 1 0.00 -66.7
Gracie Barra Belo Horizonte 2 1 0 0 3 66.67 0 1 0 0 1 0.00 -66.7
Ascension MMA 10 3 0 0 13 76.92 0 1 0 0 1 0.00 -76.9
DS Team 3 0 0 0 3 100.00 0 1 0 0 1 0.00 -100.0
Peso Pesado Gold Team 1 0 0 0 1 100.00 0 1 0 0 1 0.00 -100.0
Bulldog/Formiga Team 0 2 0 0 2 0.00 0 0 0 0 0 N/A N/A
Dragon Kombat 0 0 0 0 0 N/A 0 0 0 0 0 N/A N/A
Wand Fight Team 1 1 0 0 2 50.00 0 0 0 0 0 N/A N/A

By contrast, some of the bigger gym’s, Nova Uniao (11-18), American Top Team (7-11), Team Nogueira (2-5) have struggled over the past year.

But this isn’t a “Brazilian” issue. Across all nations, Jackson-Winklejohn, American Top Team, Kings MMA, Black House, Cesar Gracie, Elevation, MMA Lab, Roufusport, MMA Masters, Glendale, Serra Longo, Syndicate and many more all have losing records over the last twelve months. There has been a notable shift over the last few years, emerging nations, smaller gyms, springing up and showing that they can challenge.

Are Brazilian fighters doing any worse “post-USADA” than anyone else? No, not really.

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