When Marco Ruas moved to the USA
Paul Reavlin shares one of his stories from the early days of Revgear about Marco Ruas, Revgear’s first sponsored fighter.
Revgear has been in the MMA business since the early days of the sport in the USA. In the 1990s, Revgear’s first sponsored fighter was the legendary Marco Ruas, a student of the great Euclydes Hatem. But back then, Marco wasn’t so famous. His arrival in the USA from Brazil went unheralded, but Paul Reavlin, the founder of Revgear, knew greatness when he saw it. He has a great story about a seminar that you wish you had attended.
“When Marco Ruas moved to the USA from Brazil, it was about the same time that Bas Rutten had moved here as well.
At the time a guy by the name of Avi put up the money to do a seminar at his gym: Beverly Hills Jiu Jitsu. He paid to fly in Peter Aerts and Pedro Rizzo, as well as bringing in Bas and Marco – who already lived here. At that point neither Bas nor Marco had won the UFC, so not many people here knew who they were, let alone that they lived here.
When Avi put on the seminar he ran full page adverts in Black Belt magazine. I think maybe 10 to 15 people showed up for the seminar. Can you imagine a seminar with those 4 guys today and 15 people show up? I was there and put them all in Revgear shirts. Marco went on to be a sponsored fighter of ours.
There was Zero media from any American press. Zero. About 2-3 Japanese martial arts magazines flew in to cover the seminar. I didn’t speak Japanese and neither did anyone else, but I gave them my business card so they could email me the articles.
Within no time, Marco had won UFC 7 in 1995, and his fame began to spread. In 1997, Black Belt Magazine put him on the front cover – a huge leap from his name printed in a small advert a couple of years earlier.”