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Andre Pederneiras steps down as Nova Uniao leader after 21 years

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Andre Pederneiras wants to be able to train everybody, so he’s stepping down as the leader of Nova Uniao.

After 21 years, Andre Pederneiras has decided to step down as the leader of the vaunted Nova Uniao team in Brazil. The 51-year-old has been working at a training center for the gym for the last two years, but wishes to branch it off so anyone can come train there - not just Nova Uniao guys.

Here is his full statement (via MMA Fighting):

“It was officially announced today that I’m no longer part of team Nova Uniao, and I wanted to say some words for you here.

The decision to step down as Nova Uniao leader happened after we opened Upper Arena, which has worked as a training center for Nova Uniao for two years.

My idea is to turn Upper Arena in a neutral place for high-level training for athletes from other teams as well, not only Nova Uniao. I want to build the best and biggest martial arts training center of the country, helping the evolution of the sport, and also work on a social side, passing along my knowledge of 30 years dedicated to the sport, both fighting and administrative sides, to those who want to learn.

It was 21 years of many accomplishments and achievements at Nova Uniao, now I intend to invest in other dreams. I know it might seems crazy for some, but I think that everything I’ve done since the beginning seemed crazy. So I count on your support so this new phase is a victorious one. Not only for me, but for the sport and for our country that I love so much.”

He was the co-founder of the gym, and worked with a ton of MMA stars over the years. Pederneiras helped to lead three fighters - B.J. Penn, Jose Aldo, and Renan Barao - to UFC titles over the years. He also had Eduardo Dantas, who won a title in Bellator.

It appears that he will continue to run Shooto Brazil, and won’t be stepping away from the management of fighters.