BJJ legends Wallid Ismail and Carlson Gracie Jr have just been promoted to coral belt together in the same ceremony. The ceremony was held on January 6th, 2024 at the Clube Botafogo in Rio de Janeiro and it signified the fact that both men have spent three whole decades as black belts. They were actually originally promoted to black belt on the same day in 1993 under Carlson Gracie Sr, and they were friends and training partners for a long time before that.
Both Carlson Gracie Jr and Wallid Ismail have been huge figures in the development of Jiu Jitsu since all the way back in the 90s and their coral belts are incredibly well-deserved. Collectively they are responsible for teaching a monumental number of students all across the world, and they have both had experience competing in their youth. Carlson Jr had a famous no-holds-barred fight against John Lewis in 1995 that went to a draw, although he dedicated the majority of his time to teaching after that.
Ismail on the other hand was a much more prolific competitor, going 9-3 in professional MMA over the course of a decade and he even appeared for some of the biggest promotions in the sport like the UFC and PRIDE. Perhaps his most famous appearance was actually not an MMA fight though, instead it was a BJJ match that he took part in back in 1998. Ismail already owned a win over Renzo Gracie in BJJ at that point, but his popularity hit the roof when he choked Royce Gracie to sleep and became the only person to ever earn a submission win over the MMA legend under any combat sports ruleset.
Wallid Ismail and Carlson Gracie Jr both announced the news that they were promoted to BJJ coral belt in a recent post to their official Instagram accounts: