Few finishes in the early days of the Ultimate Fighting Championship last as long in the memory as Remco Pardoel’s elbow flurry to the unprotected skull of Orlando Weit.
The Muay Thai champion had no answer to the crucifix, let alone the brutal finish that followed, and Pardoel instantly became a future legend of those early, ‘barbaric’ days when every fight had no time limit, and hardly any rules. This, along with his humble post-fight interview, candid honesty, his Jiu Jitsu accomplishments and his influence in European MMA (not to mention his still being a formidable figure on the mats!) will contribute to a very strong legacy for Mr Pardoel.
I asked him some questions about his career and life in combat sports.
it’s ok. I could do a lot better with a steady job
I’m busy as we write with an audit for a application. That would be more in the field of sports marketing and managing projects on a international level
My dad was a martial arts teacher in Judo (5th degree) Jiu Jitsu (5th degree) and Taekwon-do (9th degree)
So I started with Judo at the age of 5 years and Taekwon-do when i was sort of 7 years. Jiu Jitsu (traditional) i started at the age of 11 years. (BJJ / Grappling I started in 1993)
Because our club was in my youth next to our home, i could train everyday or when ever i wanted.
my dad never pushed me to do so everything was very natural and fine for me.
I had a great youth to be honest. We had guests over now and then and there was always something to around the club.
I won my first European title in Greece in 95.
But 99 was a great weekend. In 1996 I broke my leg on 6 spots and couldn’t walk for a year. And the recovery took almost 2 years and I’m still not pain free till today. You have to work with that.
In that weekend I won on satuday a MMA tournament in Amsterdam (under 2h2h) and took the plane on sunday morning to Leeds. There I won each fight within a minute . So that would be one of the most awesome weekends of my life to be honest.
For me it was a big deal…
I always did some cross training because I loved Judo and other arts.
There was no competition system for Jiu Jitsu till the early 90′s.
When it came we where not allowed to compete at the 1st Europeans in Germany
The second year it was the Worlds in Denmark
Fabio Gurgel did break his leg in his semi finals when he fought a 150 kilo heavy French guy
So that semi final was sort of final for me when I met that French athlete.
I won on points and was more than happy!
I won the final with points from a athlete out of Slovenia.
So that made me the first world jim jitsu champion in the heavy weight category
And what maybe was more important. I met some great Brazilian people like Romero Cavalcanti, Fernando Yamasaki, Sylvio Behring, Marcello Matthias and a few others.
We got friendship and they travelled to Holland to conduct the first European Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Seminar and introduced BJJ to the European market.
BJJ and MMA changed my life as we both know!
I’m still thankful for that
There was an advertisement that there was a tournament in the USA
They did not have to many rules and there could be made some money as a athlete.
(who didn’t want to do that!)
And there was also a time that if you did Judo or Jiu Jitsu you where considered as weak or as a sissy
What better way to prove that ‘your’ style does work against other ‘deadly’ arts.
I got in contact with Art Davie (now director of X-arm, check that one out!) www.xarm.com and Rorion Gracie.
They where very helpful to give me a change to compete in their competition.
At that time the internet was not that great and we had to rely on VHS tapes and so on.
When they had send me a copy of UFC1
The only thing my dad said when he smiled,… ‘good luck’ hahahahhaha
Were you scared before your bouts?
it is normal that you have your insecurities, it is just the art of not showing them at the moment that it matters :)
I met only one person which is not showing any emotions and that was Fedor
The match before Orlanda I’ve met a Spanish athlete by the name of Alberto Cerro Leon
He was a (true) champion in the art of Pencak Silat.
for me it was the first MMA match ever.. so it was looking for a submission .. but he didn’t tap
I thought that is strange hahahahhaha
so I applied the following one a bit harder. I heard it cracking and no tap..
so than the last one I was thinking than I just breaking that one.
And it cracked again and he tapped out
At the other side of the bracket Orlando was giving another fellow of my size a master class in Thai Boxing on full muay thai rules.
I know Orlando from some crazy fights in Europe and in the week prior to that we hang out as mates. As it should be i think.
When it was time to roll i was thinking,… don’t box with him, don’t box with him
I looked for the change to get hem down.
I could not get a better position to go for a submission and then i saw the change to give a elbow or two.
So I did and I won …
If they ask me for some Dinosaur of MMA match… why not?
I train for myself on a daily basis and i’m still competitive on BJJ and bring some top 10 athletes in trouble with sparring :)
My last fight in MMA was one with a lot of personal drama surrounded.
I just should have not fought that one
The one against Smith I should have won..
I had Him chocked in the start of the fight. but he broke two of my fingers so i had to release that one.
The rest of the fight it was just survival.
but the judges made a other decision
At the end of the day you can not win them all.
It would be great to close your ‘career’ with one or two victories
In the past I always trained some top 10 athletes (manhoef, struve (currently), Fedor, Daley) (some of my students got people in the top 10 Like Martijn with Overeem, Jochem with Kuipers (ufc) So my students are creating champions :)
I made some champions with BJJ and have black belts under me in BJJ (3 currently), Jiu Jitsu (10+) Judo (20+), Taekwon-do (20+)
Did some work as referee and was head judge of the European edition of Pride
I always loved the Asian Approach of MMA
It’s more a bout technique and taking a risk.
People appreciate more the fight than the fighter.
So if you win or lose doesn’t matter that much..
I think the Emirates will be a strong force to recogn with also within a few years..
They need to hire the right people (me for instance)
One FC could be the next big thing
They have great events!!!
Victor Cui has a vision and he does it very well!
I think Asia needs people like Victor to get MMA on it’s old level like the days we all miss like we knew from the Pride shows
I need to remark that Evolve team, Phuket Top Team and team Juggernaut are making big contributions to bump the level up!!!!
Korea is already a strong MMA union..
When will China and India follow?
That would be something!
I never attended one of their events so I can’t really tell
What I can see on the internet, because I am also a BIG fan of great MMA fights, it looks better by each show.
But Asia is at the end of the day a very competitive continent
The reference and standard of Pride was so high that people will work hard to achieve that again
Asian MMA will definitely compete with the UFC
They have a different fan base and a other business model.
So they are more colleagues than competitors in my opinion
Asian MMA will be fine within 2 years from now
And the standard will be extremely high!
I can’t wait to be honest.