BJJ legends Helio ‘Soneca’ Moreira and Roberto ‘Gordo’ Correa have just been promoted to coral belt together in the same promotion ceremony. Both men have been huge figures in the sport for quite some time now, and they were originally promoted to black belt 31 years ago. Their most recent belt promotion came at the hands of a fellow massive figure in the sport, Renzo Gracie, who was actually promoted to coral belt himself just a little over a year ago. It’s a monumental achievement for both men of course, as it signifies incredible longevity and a dedication to the sport that spans decades.
They both spent the early parts of their career training under Gracie Barra, and both men were eventually promoted to black belt by Carlos Gracie Junior. Long before either of them became known as the fantastic coaches that they are today, they were both accomplished competitors during their athletic prime. In fact, they both appeared at the very first edition of the IBJJF World Championship in 1996 and they both stood on top of the podium in their respective divisions. Moreira won his gold medal at the event in the light-featherweight division, while Correa earned his title at middleweight.
Naturally they both ended up opening their own academies and teaching the next generation of students when they moved on from competing themselves. Rather than becoming instructors under someone else, Moreira opened the Helio Soneca Association and Correa opened Gordo JJ. Considering how long it takes to reach the rank of coral belt, it’s one of the highest honors in BJJ and it signifies just how much both Helio ‘Soneca’ Moreira and Roberto ‘Gordo’ Correa have given to the sport.
Renzo Gracie shared the news that he had promoted both Helio ‘Soneca’ Moreira and Roberto ‘Gordo’ Correa to coral belt in BJJ in a recent post to his official Instagram account: