Greatest MMA Seminar

Marco Ruas, Andre Lima (our reporter), Peter Aerts, and Bas Rutten during the seminar Marco Ruas, Andre Lima (our reporter), Peter Aerts, and Bas Rutten during the seminar (right to left)

“The Greatest Seminar,” as it was called, was an event originated and organized by Frederico Lapenda, promoter of “no-holds-barred” tournaments and manager of the famous Brazilian fighter Marco Ruas, who is also known as the “King of the Streets.” Lapenda had the idea of gathering the three best fighters in the world in their specific styles and divisions in his opinion, and have them together in what he entitled “The Greatest Fighting Seminar Ever!” Peter Aerts came from the Netherlands, Bas Rutten was in Japan where he constantly fights, and Marco Ruas came from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. According to Lapenda, putting them together was no easy task. The main intention of the seminar was to build up to the maximum the new wave in martial arts: “real fighting.”

The seminar took place on May 31, Saturday, and June 1, Sunday, 1998 in Los Angeles, California. It was divided in LEVEL I for beginners and fighters with little experience, and LEVEL II for advanced fighters and black-belt martial artists. It was open to any practitioner of any martial-art style with no age limit. The sponsor was the martial-art-equipment company REVGEAR, based in Los Angeles.

Bas Rutten
Bas Rutten demonstrates ground fighting

To summarize the career of each of the “best three fighters in the world,” the following can be said:

Bas Rutten: had an illustrious Thai boxing career, than he made a successful transition into Pancrase fighting in Japan, becoming the “King of Pancrase” three times.

Peter Aerts: known as “The Dutch Lumberjack,” Peter made martial arts history by winning the prestigious K1 twice in a row at the age of twenty-four, thus becoming martial arts legend.

Marco Ruas: after his victory on the “Ultimate Fighting Championships,” Ruas was called “the most complete fighter of the century” by the Japanese press. With equal stand-up and ground fighting skills, he is one of the most feared men on earth.

Even though the seminar received special attention — and consequently, good advertisement — by the most popular magazine in the world of martial arts, Black Belt, USA, it was not as successful as expected. Because of some kind of disagreement between Frederico Lapenda and Marco Ruas, and the last-minute change of the location where the event would take place ( from Tarzana to the Beverly Hills Jiu-Jitsu Academy), confusion was created and very few people participated to the seminar; it was a financial disaster. Despite all the turmoil, the atmosphere was great; the three champions made the participants stay at ease by being playful and telling jokes.

Marco Ruas (L), Bas Rutten (C), and Peter Aerts (R) in a relaxing moment.

Copyright: Andre Lima