Does Vale Tudo Still Exist?

If you’re a fan of martial arts and combat sports, you might have come across the term “Vale Tudo” at some point. Vale Tudo is a form of mixed martial arts that originated in Brazil. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the main questions about Vale Tudo, and specifically, give the answer to the question “Does vale tudo still exist?”.

Where is Vale Tudo From?

Vale Tudo finds its roots in Brazil, where it emerged in the early 20th century.

It was born out of a desire to determine which martial art style was the most effective in real-life combat situations.

What is the history of Vale Tudo?

Brazilian fighters with backgrounds in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, Luta Livre (a Brazilian submission wrestling style), and various striking disciplines sought to test their skills against practitioners of other martial arts.

The fights took place in Brazil’s infamous “Luta Livre vs. Jiu-Jitsu” challenge matches, which pitted the best fighters of each style against each other.

Vale Tudo meaning

Vale Tudo, is a Portuguese phrase that literally translates to “anything goes” in English.

Vale Tudo pronunciation

The pronunciation of “Vale Tudo” is as follows:

Vale: Vah-leh Tudo: Too-doo

What is Vale Tudo Fighting?

Vale Tudo is a full-contact combat sport that allows fighters to employ a wide range of techniques from both striking and grappling martial arts.

The term “anything goes” refers to the fact that fighters can use strikes, kicks, punches, knees, and elbows, as well as takedowns, throws, and submissions in vale tudo rounds. The absence of strict rules or weight classes distinguishes Vale Tudo from other regulated combat sports like boxing or MMA.

The raw nature of Vale Tudo fights adds an element of unpredictability and excitement for both fighters and spectators. It embodies the essence of a true fight, where combatants can employ whatever means necessary to overcome their opponents.

However, it’s worth noting that modern Vale Tudo events often implement some rules and safety precautions to protect the fighters.

Former Brazilian Vale Tudo fighters Wanderlei Silva and Rafael Cordeiro talk about Vale-Tudo bare-knuckle fighting:

Is Vale Tudo Effective?

The effectiveness of Vale Tudo as a fighting style is a subject of much debate.

Its proponents argue that since it allows the use of a wide range of techniques, fighters who train in Vale Tudo can develop a well-rounded skill set that can be applied in real-life self-defense situations.

Vale Tudo fighters often have experience in multiple martial arts disciplines, giving them an edge when it comes to adaptability and versatility.

On the other hand, critics argue that Vale Tudo’s lack of specific rules and regulations makes it less structured and predictable than other combat sports like boxing or MMA. They contend that specialized training in individual disciplines can lead to a higher level of proficiency in specific techniques.

What Does Vale Tudo Focus On: User Opinion

It is always a good option to know different opinions about specific issues.

We have gathered some main points from the Reddit martial arts threads about what people think about Vale Tude today:

Main Points
Vale Tudo is often mistaken as a martial art, but it is actually a form of MMA. The most popular martial arts in Brazil are BJJ and Muay Thai.
Brazilian fighters were listed as Vale Tudo in the early days of the UFC.
Vale Tudo is not officially recognized with no gloves and headbutts, but there were underground organizations like WVC, IVC, Meca World Vale Tudo, and Rio Heroes.
Proper Vale Tudo events with Pride-style rules were last seen in 2006/2007. Many fighters aspire to make it to the UFC.
Comparing Vale Tudo to Lethwei, another form of combat sport.
Vale Tudo is seen as a ruleset for MMA.
Vale Tudo is considered old-school MMA with looser rules.
Vale Tudo means “everything is allowed” in Portuguese. It is a form of MMA or its predecessor. In true Vale Tudo, there are no gloves, weight classes, time limits, and any martial art is allowed. Luta Livre and Muay Thai are commonly practiced in Vale Tudo.
Vale Tudo is a no-rules MMA where anything goes.
Vale Tudo is still a thing, and it’s similar to MMA but with fewer rules.
Vale Tudo is basically MMA with fewer rules.
Vale Tudo is heavily influenced by BJJ and Luta Livre/Catch Wrestling, and it emphasizes takedowns.
Vale Tudo would look similar to MMA but with some differences like the elimination of certain rules and the inclusion of headbutts, kicks, and stomps on downed opponents.

Vale Tudo Techniques

Vale Tudo fighters draw from various martial arts systems, combining striking, grappling, and submission techniques to create their own unique Vale Tudo fighting style.

Here are some common techniques employed in Vale Tudo:

  1. Striking Techniques: Vale Tudo fighters often utilize strikes including punches, kicks, knees, and elbows. They learn to generate power, maintain proper footwork, and employ effective head movement to both attack and defend.
  2. Grappling Techniques: Vale Tudo fighters are well-versed in grappling arts like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Luta Livre. They learn takedowns, throws, clinches, and ground control techniques to dominate their opponents. Submissions such as joint locks and chokes play a significant role in their arsenal.
  3. Clinch Fighting: The clinch is a crucial aspect of Vale Tudo. Fighters use it to control their opponents, deliver strikes from close range, and execute takedowns. Clinching requires strength, balance, and strategic positioning.
  4. Ground Fighting: Vale Tudo fighters excel in ground fighting, employing techniques to gain advantageous positions and finish the fight through submissions or ground and pound. They utilize their knowledge of leverage, positioning, and submissions to overcome opponents.

The Gracies and the Birth of Vale Tudo Documentary Film

To truly understand the impact of Vale Tudo, one must explore the role of the legendary Gracie family in its development.

The Gracies, a prominent Brazilian family known for their Jiu-Jitsu expertise, played a pivotal role in popularizing Vale Tudo through their challenge matches – the open invitation Gracie Challenge. In these matches, members of the Gracie family would take on fighters from various martial arts disciplines to prove the effectiveness of Jiu-Jitsu.

To gain a deeper insight into the birth and evolution of Vale Tudo one can from watching the documentary film titled “The Gracies and the Birth of Vale Tudo.”

This compelling film provides an in-depth exploration of the history and significance of Vale Tudo in the context of the Gracie family’s contributions to martial arts.

the gracies and the birth of vale tudo
The Gracies and the Birth of Vale Tudo documentary

Is Vale Tudo the Same as MMA?

While Vale Tudo and MMA share similarities, they are not entirely the same.

MMA, or Mixed Martial Arts, is a regulated combat sport that combines techniques from various martial arts disciplines, including striking, grappling, and ground fighting. It employs specific rules, weight classes, and time limits to ensure fighter safety and fair competition.

On the other hand, Vale Tudo is the precursor to MMA. It lacks the formal rules and regulations seen in modern MMA and is often considered a more raw and unrestricted form of combat.

What’s the difference between MMA and Vale Tudo?


One of the most significant differences between Vale Tudo and MMA is the rules that govern each competition. Vale Tudo, which translates to “anything goes,” is a no-holds-barred sport with few rules.

In contrast, MMA has stricter regulations, including weight classes, time limits, and prohibited moves such as headbutts and groin strikes. The evolution of these rules is one reason why vale tudo has largely faded away as a sport.


Another significant difference between vale tudo and MMA is the use of equipment. In vale tudo fights, there are no gloves or protective gear required for fighters.

This makes the sport more dangerous from a health standpoint since fighters are more vulnerable to injuries such as broken bones or cuts from strikes.

In contrast, in MMA fighters must wear gloves and other protective gear like mouthguards to minimize the risk of injury.

Vale Tudo fighting style vs MMA

Vale Tudo fights usually involve stand-up striking as well as grappling techniques that include submissions like chokes or arm locks. Fighters in this sport often employ tactics that are not allowed in modern-day mixed martial arts competitions, such as eye gouging or hair pulling.

Additionally, since it’s an older combat sport than MMA itself, its fighting techniques require more physical contact than most current combat sports we have today which makes it highly aggressive in nature.

Overall, while there are similarities between vale tudo and modern-day MMA competitions today regarding combative techniques used in each game; these differences in rules and equipment among other aspects set them apart thus contributing to why vale tudo hasn’t survived for too long on its own despite being a precursor to modern-day mixed martial arts competitions we see today in many parts of the world.

Does Vale Tudo Still Exist?

The popularity and prevalence of Vale Tudo have significantly declined since the early 2000s.

While there were still some promotions and underground events that continued to use traditional Vale Tudo rules for a period, the majority of major events in Brazil and around the world have adopted the safer “Unified” rules of mixed martial arts (MMA).

According to Sergio Batarelli, a former promoter of IVC (International Vale Tudo Championship) and WVC, fighting with the rules from before is considered impossible and a thing of the past.

The term “Vale Tudo” has also been gradually dropped as the sport of MMA gained coverage in the Brazilian media, with major networks like RedeTV! and Rede Globo starting to cover UFC events.

However, it’s worth noting that small-scale Vale Tudo events are still taking place in Brazil, albeit in limited numbers and often underground. These events sometimes cause controversy in the media due to the violent and bloody nature of the sport.

Critics argue that all Vale Tudo shows should adopt the “Unified” ruleset used in countries like the United States, Canada, and England, as it is perceived to be safer.

On the other hand, supporters of Vale Tudo argue against the Unified Rules, stating that there is no medical proof that they are safer and highlighting that no contestant has been killed or permanently disabled while fighting under traditional rules.

Overall, while Vale Tudo still exists in some capacity, it has become a niche and less prevalent compared to MMA events that follow the Unified Rules.

The evolution of the sport and the adoption of standardized rules have contributed to the differentiation of Vale Tudo and MMA as separate entities.

Famous Vale Tudo Fighters

The Legends

When it comes to Vale Tudo, there are a few fighters who are considered legends in the sport. One of those fighters is Marco Ruas, also known as “The King of the Streets.” Ruas was a pioneer of the sport, and he was one of the first fighters to use leg kicks effectively in Vale Tudo fights.

Marco Ruas
Marco Ruas; Google Images caption

Another legend is Rickson Gracie, a member of the famous Gracie family who dominated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitions for years. Rickson only competed in a handful of Vale Tudo fights, but he never lost a single one.

Modern Fighters

While Vale Tudo may not be as popular as it once was, there are still some notable fighters competing in the sport today. One such fighter is Anderson Silva, who had an impressive career in MMA and also competed in a number of Vale Tudo fights early on in his career.

Anderson Silva vs Claudionor Fontinelle, World Vale Tudo 4, 2000

Rivalries and Rematches

One thing that makes watching old Vale Tudo fights so exciting is seeing some of the rivalries that developed between fighters over time. One such rivalry was between Wanderlei Silva and Kazushi Sakuraba.

These two fighters had some epic battles that are still talked about today among fans of combat sports.

Overall, while there may not be as many famous names associated with Vale Tudo as there once were, there are still plenty of legendary fighters worth knowing about if you’re interested in this particular style of fighting.

Controversies Surrounding Vale Tudo

Criticisms regarding safety

One of the main criticisms of vale tudo is the lack of safety measures in place. Fighters do not wear protective gear and can suffer serious injuries during fights.

Compared to other combat sports such as MMA and boxing, vale tudo has a much higher risk of injury because there are fewer rules and restrictions on what fighters can do. Despite this, many fans argue that the lack of safety equipment adds to the excitement of the sport and makes it more authentic.

The Brutality Factor

Another criticism is the level of brutality involved in vale tudo fights. Some people see it as overly violent and barbaric, with fighters using techniques that can cause serious harm or even death.

However, supporters argue that vale tudo has strict rules against intentionally injuring opponents, and the majority of fighters respect those rules.

Ethics Debate

There is an ongoing debate about whether or not vale tudo is ethical as a sport. Critics argue that promoting violence for entertainment purposes sends a negative message to society and encourages aggression.

Supporters counter this by saying that it provides an outlet for people to release stress without harming others outside the ring.

While there are certainly valid concerns surrounding vale tudo, it remains a popular combat sport with a dedicated following around the world.

Whether you believe it should be embraced or rejected ultimately comes down to your personal views on violence in sports and entertainment.


Vale Tudo is a fascinating combat sport that originated in Brazil and embraces the concept of “anything goes.”

While it may not be as prevalent in the modern martial arts landscape as MMA, it played a crucial role in shaping the development of mixed martial arts. Its raw and unpredictable nature continues to captivate martial arts enthusiasts who appreciate the unfiltered intensity of a true fight.

So, next time you stumble upon Vale Tudo footage or hear the phrase mentioned, you’ll have a deeper understanding of its origins, techniques, and significance in the world of martial arts.

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