Legendary BJJ coach Octavio ‘Ratinho’ Couto has sadly passed away on August 26th, 2023 after suffering a tragic accident at the age of 52. He was actually the unfortunate victim of a fatal fall on the shores of Lake Como in Italy, where he was attending the wedding of some friends. Couto was one of the most well-respected coaches in the sport, and he also spent plenty of time making a difference as both a tournament organizer and referee. At one point in the early 1990’s he was even an accomplished competitor, although he later chose to focus much more on teaching rather than competing in BJJ.
Couto was a veteran BJJ black belt under Romero ‘Jacare’ Cavalcanti and eventually became one of the founding members of the Brasa Jiu-Jitsu Academy. Through that famous academy, Couto has had a hand in the development of the most famous BJJ competitors over the years. Legends like Fernando ‘Terere’ Augusto and Leo Vieira have trained under him at times and he had a clear impact on their success in the sport. He was one of the most well-respected coaches and most popular figures in the sport, something that is obvious from the outpouring of grief from the BJJ community after news of his passing spread.
The accident occurred at around 6:30 am near the Villa Carlotta museum garden, where Octavio ‘Ratinho’ Couto had been attending BJJ seminars and visiting other academies. The common belief is that he was sitting on the wall near the Regina state highway when he sadly fell approximately three meters and hit the concrete base of the wall, before dropping into Lake Como itself. The local police, known as the carabinieri, suspect that Octavio’s death was actually the result of the trauma he suffered from the fall, rather than drowning after entering the lake.