A True Modern Samurai

  Hélio Vígio being promoted to 9th Degree Red Belt by Grandmaster Helio Gracie surounded by Gastão Gracie, Francisco Mansur and Pedro Valente Sr.

Hélio Vígio being promoted to 9th Degree Red Belt by Grandmaster Helio Gracie surounded by Gastão Gracie, Francisco Mansur and Pedro Valente Sr.

Grandmaster Hélio Vígio departed to the next stage of his spiritual journey on the early hours of Friday, December 16. Vigio, as our father and Grandmaster Helio Gracie called him, was one of the original Navy Belt professors during the golden years of jiu-jitsu in the 1950s. A Helio Gracie Professors' Diploma recipient, he was one of our father's first teachers. Vígio was a great vale tudo fighter, always ready to represent the Academia Gracie. Years later our father invited him to become Vasco da Gama's conditioning coach. Hélio Vígio became one of Rio de Janeiro's top and most formidable law enforcement agents. One of his most important feats was spearheading the Anti-Kidnaping division where he saved many lives. In 1993, Helio Vígio was selected by the UFC to be the event's first referee along with Grandmaster João Alberto Barreto. Vígio was a great and loyal friend, who, literally, would come to your rescue at anytime, anywhere and whenever you needed him. Grandmaster Helio Vígio will always be remembered by the Valente family. Thank you. Até sempre.