Igor Araujo, UFC veteran, and esteemed BJJ black belt did a touching gesture recently, awarding one of his students his black belt just moments before he passed away. Going even further, Igor actually gave his student Alain Mennet his own black belt. It was more than just a gesture, especially to the man receiving the belt. What a great man Igor is!
Igor Araujo is a black belt under Aldo “Caveirinha” Januário, from the Carlso Gracie Jr. (GB) legacy. The Brazilian is 39 years old and has been training Jiu-Jitsu since he was 19, being a competitive soccer player u to that point in his life. Focusing on MMA, Araujo has several of the big titles to boast about, like the Europeans and Brazilian Nationals.
Apart from a very noticeable career in the UFC, Igor Araujo also fought for M-1, Shooto, and KSW. He was also on the Ultimate Fighter Series in 2012, as part of Shane Carwin’s team that faced a team led by Roy Nelson. Araujo got to the semifinals in the competition, but it was enough for him to earn a UFC contract. Araujo fought in the UFC until 2015. He holds a professional MMA record of 25-10-1. After his release from the UFC, Araujo fought a few more times in Europe. He currently lives in Switzerland, where he teaches BJJ.
Alain Mennet, who sadly passed away at the age of 59, was a very dedicated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, competitor, champion, and martial artist. He started off with Kung Fu, but quickly found about BJJ and dedicated completely to the sport for the final 8 years of his life.
Mennet was completely devoted to Jiu-jitsu, as Igo Araujo accounts for. Mennet trained every day, sometimes twice a day. In fact, his training regiment was not unlike that of a professional fighter, something Aarujo knows all about. Despite having lots of injuries and not being athletic or strong, Mennet was really good, as is shown by his European title at blue belt in 2018 in the Masters 5 division.
“I always had a lot of contact with him, he was one of the people who trained there most. He really liked jiu-jitsu and wanted to fight in the European Jiu-Jitsu Championship. He traveled (to Lisbon), lost weight just like a professional athlete, did some fights, and won. Alain took the sport very seriously until he had the disease, “said Igor to Brazilian news portal Opovo.
A Moving Story Of Bravery And Loyalty
Unfortunately, Alain Mennet got stomach cancer, which then spread throughout his body. Alain had just returned from training in Brazil when he got the diagnosis. Refusing to give up his BJJ lifestyle, he kept on training even during the therapy and after getting surgery to remove part of his stomach.
“While he had chemotherapy, he trained every day. He arrived there, stopped coaching, would throw up. Even with chemotherapy, continued training and dreamed of fighting the world championship” – said Igor Araujo.
Alain went on to train as much as he could, but an injury to his spinal column, unfortunately, complicated things further for the European champion. Although he lost mobility in his arms as a result, he managed to recover so much, that at one point, he even got a medical clearance to visit the academy again. When he did that, he went straight to the mats, despite everything. Igor caught the whole thing on camera.
Igor wanted to give Alain Mennet his black belt after he left the hospital, but the disease took a turn for the worse. Alain’s state was already bad at the moment, and he wasn’t completely conscious but did acknowledge his professor not just promoting him to black belt, but giving him his own belt. A massive gesture that the entire BJJ world greats!
Getting a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is very hard. In the case of Alain Mennet, the story is extremely moving, especially with the touching gesture Igor Araujo made. Despite Alain passing away just a few hours after his black belt promotion, he will definitely be remembered by his gym, and hopes are, after treading this, buy the retire Jui-Jitsu community worldwide. We extend our condolences to Menett’s family.
*All photos from Igor Araujo’s private collection