Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu innovator Eddie Bravo has been a staple in Tony Ferguson’s corner. The godfather of the rubber guard also awarded “El Cucuy” his black belt after a submission win over Kevin Lee in 2017.
But during Ferguson’s interim title fight against Justin Gaethje at UFC 249, Bravo says he was more of a liability than an asset. During the Fight Companion episode for the UFC’s May 16th card, he revealed being visually impaired after losing his prescription glasses.
“My car got broken into last week, they stole my glasses. I need my glasses, I’m pretty blind,” Bravo explained (transcript by MMA Mania). “So I didn’t realize how cut up he was until I walked up to him.
“It was a mistake for me to go in there. He’s hurt, he’s cut up, a lot of things are swirling through my head – ‘What is the best advice here? I need help’. I froze. And it’s so quiet. I dunno. I froze. I’ve never been in that situation before in my life. I’m not the guy for that, I shouldn’t have been in there.”
Bravo says he was even more daunted when he was suddenly tasked to give the main corner advice entering the final round.
“Rashad Holloway is his boxing coach, and Billy [Fonua] is his Muay Thai coach,” he explained. “So one of them went in, I’m on the outside, I’ve got nothing to say. All I had to say is, ‘Tony, you’re looking good.’
“But after that fourth round it was looking like, ‘Oh sh-t,’ then right after the bell rung Rashad turns around and goes, ‘Eddie, get in there’. I wasn’t ready for it. I walked in there going, ‘What the … I’m not an MMA head coach’.”
Ferguson lost the fight via fifth-round TKO, his first taste of defeat after a 12-fight win streak beginning in 2013. He did get a $50,000 bonus for Fight of the Night honors.