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Demian Maia Says He Agreed to Corner Kron Gracie ‘At the Request of My Idol’



After nearly four years away from the Octagon, Kron Gracie disappointed his fans with the worst performance of his career at UFC 288.

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Gracie was unable to get opponent Charles Jourdain to the canvas and on the feet, his output was almost nonexistent in a unanimous decision defeat. That showing drew criticism from UFC president Dana White in the aftermath.

"He came really limited tonight, fighting like he just left a time capsule from 1995,” White said at the UFC 288 post-fight press conference.

One week after the fight, Kron released a statement where he blamed “bad advice” and a desire to please the jiu-jitsu community for the defeat.

“In a lifetime of fighting, it’s always been a fight to the death,” the son of Rickson Gracie wrote. “Understand the situation and willing to limit myself, even that being said I threw no punches because of bad advice and tried to please the jiu-jitsu community two days before my fight. First fight in my life I didn’t throw a punch, going back to my old ways.”

The statement was regarded by the jiu-jitsu community as an indictment of Demian Maia, who arrived two days before the event to corner Gracie. Maia, who currently works as a UFC commentator in Brazil and runs his own academy in Sao Paulo, recently discussed the subject in an interview with Encarada . According to Maia, he was in the corner at the request of Rickson Gracie.

"A friend of mine, Dentinho, who is also a student of Rickson, called me two months before the fight asking me to help Kron. I told him that if Kron wanted to come to Brazil, I would do my best to help him, but I couldn't go to the U.S. to help his camp,” Maia said.

Nonetheless, Maia did what he could to help by studying Jourdain’s fights and sending tips to Kron. One week before the bout, Dentinho called him again, asking him to be in Kron’s corner.

"I asked Rickson, and he thanked me for all the help I’d provided, but he would be grateful if I could go [to UFC 288],” Maia said. “As everybody in the jiu-jitsu community knows, Rickson is my idol and I couldn't refuse that request. Dentinho sent me the ticket after that. and I arrived there Thursday, two days before the fight. Of course, since I hadn't followed Kron´s camp, there wasn't too much to do. It was much more like a positive moral support.”

As for Kron’s statement, Maia took the diplomatic route.

"I would rather not comment,” he said. “As I said, I went two days before [UFC 288] for moral support at the request of my idol. I have a lot of gratitude for Gracie family for all they have done for our sport, and I would rather not comment.”
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