Bruno Carvalho is 32 year-old welterweight MMA champ who is a Brazillian transplant living in Sweden, training with Team Carvalho at Allstar Training Center. His warrior lineage is no surprise, with a grandfather who was a seventh Dan in Judo and founded the Itapagipano de Judô Club in Brazil in 1966, a great-uncle who was a Vale Tudo legend, and an five black belt uncles, one of whom gave Bruno his black belt in Jiu-Jitsu in 2003. Bruno went on to win more than fifty trophies in Judo, Jiu-Jitsu and Submission Wrestling, among them four BJJ State Championships and a Silver Medal at the European Championships in Jiu-Jitsu in 2007.
Bruno had an eight-fight unbeaten run from 2009 to 2011 which culminated in capturing the Middleweight Championship of World Freefight Challenge, the biggest and most professional Mixed Martial Arts organization in Southern Europe - but Bruno's last fight in October of 2013 ended with Carvalo knocked out. For the last several months, Bruno has been training hard, preparing for his next fight against Norwegian Moshen Bahari on March 22, 2014. Part of Carvalho's edge is that he has been vegan for over two years, and credits his veganism for the seemingly limitless endurance that he displays while training seven-day weeks.
Bruno took a break from training to have a quick chat with me:
Joshua Katcher: Bruno, when was your last fight and how did it go? When is your next, and what are you doing to prepare? Bruno Carvalho: My last fight was in October of last year , it didn't go so well. I've been dealing with lots of injures and personal stuff. I'm fighting Moshen Bahari on March 22, 2014 in Denmark, and I'm preparing very well, all the shit has passed, and now it's full focus!
JK: You grew up surrounded by martial arts. Your family is a sort of 'martial arts royals'. What was that like, and did you ever consider doing anything else? BC: That was and is the best thing I can think of and wouldn't ask God for something else! Never considered doing another thing, that's how my family lives and that's what I love to do!
JK: Outside of fighting and training, what are you up to? BC: I read a looooot about everything, love to read on nutrition, health... All vegan related book and athletes, also successful people's biographies. From them we can always learn!
JK: You moved from Brazil to Sweden. Was that a bit of culture shock? Did it have anything to do with your veganism? How long have you been vegan and why have you chosen to be vegan? BC: It was a big shock in all areas! I came here to teach and train, I wasn't vegan at the time (unfortunately). I started as a vegetarian and feeling the progress in my life and training, the vegan tradition came along and now it's been 2 years.
JK: MMA is a hyper-masculine world. Caring about animals and being vegan isn't necessarily seen as "masculine" by the mainstream. How do your family, friends, teammates and competitors respond to your veganism? Have you experienced any misunderstanding, bullying or ridicule because of it? BC: Well, there's always lots of jokes and questions, but the results and my performance show them the reality! I really don't care when they joke, I just love to prove them wrong.
JK: You captured the Middleweight Championship of World Freefight Challenge. What does your training regimen look like as far as food and exercise in order to be a champion? BC: I love to train very hard, and as much as I possibly can every single day. That's one reason I became vegan, because it gives me the advantage to recover faster and train harder! I train every day of the week, even on Sundays I do a complementary sesh! Diet wise, I eat lots of fruits, salads, veggies, shakes.... You love to eat too!
JK: I do love to eat too, but I don't work out as much as you do! What issues do you care about the most, and how do you address them? BC: I care the most about health and performance... But of course I'm an animal lover and having watched many vegan videos and movies, I just can't be contributing to violence against animals. We must respect all kinds of life!
JK: Do you know any other vegan athletes? Do you guys ever talk and trade advice? BC: Yes! My good friend Akira Corassanii in NY is a vegan fighter, and I always talk to other vegan and vegetarian athletes and check their FB pages for news.
JK: What is your signature move? BC: I have good throws because of my judo background, and on the floor I always get omoplatas and triangles!
JK: You've traveled a lot for work. What are you favorite places you've been, and where is the best vegan food int he world? BC: I loved Thailand, and Middle Eastern countries are very attractive too! Best vegan food? Hmmm, always at home!