Is Garry Tonon the genetic result of a passionate bathroom threeway between Renato Laranja, Royce Gracie, and Tonon’s mom?
“I thought about calling myself Garry Gracie for a little bit, but it seemed redundant, so I just took the name of her husband instead,” Tonon told Bernardo Faria in their new BJJ Fanatics collaboration, “Exit the System.”
That anecdote may not exactly be accurate. But the rest of the Tonon origin story as shared by the MMA and BJJ star himself in this video passes fact checking, and it’s just as entertaining. From his early years in tough guy Jersey wrestling, to his discovery of jiu-jitsu, to his unpredictable assent to the Danaher Death Squad and international fight stages as a somewhat smaller guy, Tonon breaks down the moments which have made him one of the most respected names in grappling today. They get into this year’s recent ADCC, some EBI history, how to train fighting out of nightmare submissions, and a lot more grappling nerd gold.
It’s a rare and relaxed “chilling on the mats after class” kind of interview, with none of the cringe-y posturing which makes some BJJ interviews too painful to watch to completion, so check this one out in its entirety: