Former UFC lightweight Gleison Tibau found a rather unusual way to keep busy during the pandemic. Although the Brazilian never stopped coaching during his 2020 hiatus, he did reveal a wild opportunity that came his way roughly seven months ago.
In an interview with MMA Fighting, Tibau explained how he was approached by German rapper KC Rebell to be a part of his new music video—which would feature an MMA tournament. However, the artist wanted the fights to be real. So what was baptized as ‘Maximum Bloodsport Tournament’ was created solely for the recording.
MBT was a one-night grand prix tournament with actual MMA matches, that took place during the recording of Rebell’s video for the song Anani Bacini. Tibau reportedly emerged victorious from the promotion’s first and only show, after tapping out Eluther Igel and beating Konrad Dyrschka via decision. While the two wins did not end up on his official record, obviously, the longtime MMA veteran says he enjoyed the experience, claiming it reminded him of his early fighting days in Brazil.
“A rap group wanted to do a music video and decided to do a four-man tournament with two fights on the same night, and they wanted real fights,” Tibau explained, speaking of how he was offered the opportunity.
“It reminded me of the old days in Brazil, the tournaments I fought, getting called on short notice. It’s not like I’m fighting for five or 10 years, I’ve been doing this for 20 years and have fought for all kinds of promotions. I’ve fought in rings set on the floor, I’ve fought inside an apartment.”
“The set looked very gangster-like, it was an industrial area with a cage set in the middle of nowhere, so f*cking cold, and people getting there by helicopter,” Tibau continued. “The production was awesome. It was a great experience. If I were a young kid just starting [in MMA] or used to events like UFC, PFL and Bellator, I’m sure I wouldn’t even leave the car, I’d go back home right away [laughs].”
Now paired up against Joao Zeferino for an officially sanctioned tournament in the PFL 2021 welterweight GP, Tibau said the money he earned for the music video definitely came in handy.
“A fighter doesn’t get paid if he’s not fighting,” he admitted. “It’s hard to make money, but I received some invitations to help in camps and teach seminars. I had great experience in Germany. It gave me an awesome financial support and allowed me to train with different people and know other styles, evolve by training with other athletes.”
The opportunity to earn the $1 million PFL season his a big driving force behind Tibau’s enthusiasm for the upcoming season. “There are champions in the UFC that don’t get paid that kind of money,” Tibau enthused, adding that he feels the promotion’s point & bracket style is more fair than other promotions. “You will only become champion in the UFC if they want you to, those who sell more [get the shot]. Here at PFL, you will only get there if you earn it. It’s more fair.”
Tibau (35-14) currently rides a two-fight winning streak (not including unofficial wins), with victories over former Bellator champion Will Brooks and UFC veteran Efrain Escudero. Before that, the 37-year-old was on a four-fight losing skid, with losses to Tony Ferguson, Abel Trujillo, Islam Makhachev and Desmond Green.
PFL 2 takes place on April 29, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The card is set to be headlined by another welterweight match between UFC veterans Rory MacDonald and Curtis Millender.