UFC fighter Braga Neto has turned a dose of bad luck into a $4,000 poker win after making it to the final table of a live tournament event in Brazil.
As reported by MMAFighting.com, the 30-year-old grappling expert was due to fly to Florianopolis, Brazil, ahead of his UFC Lincoln fight in August, to make some extra money teaching jiu-jitsu classes. After missing his scheduled flight and then being late for his second attempt, the Brazilian decided to drive to the seminars he had planned.
Sleep Break Turns into Poker Win
A few hours into his 700-mile trip from Rio de Janeiro, Neto decided to take a break in Sao Paulo. Despite intending to sleep, the poker enthusiast jumped into the $80 Big Chance event at the H2 Club casino.
With an $80,000 prizepool and 1,586 runners, the professional fighter had to bob and weave his way into contention. Eventually, however, he came up short but still managed to take home $4,000 after finishing fifth.
Although it was a relatively small win in poker terms, the prize money was more than the cash on offer at the recent BJJ Pro IBJJF Championship. Taking part in the Jiu Jitsu tournament just a few days after his poker win, Neto went out in the first round but would have only win just over $1,000 had he grappled his way to the top of the podium.
Speaking to MMM Fighting’s Guilherme Cruz about his poker exploits, the Team Nogueira fighter said that he’s planning to reinvest the money into his online shop and poker. In fact, when he was forced to take time away from MMA because of injuries, Neto used poker as a way to make a living.
“Poker was a way I found to make money. That’s what saved me in those years when I haven’t fought,” Neto told Cruz during a 2017 interview.
Terceiro torneio Big Chance que joguei na @h2club, primeiro fiz acordo no heads up ( duas pessoas ), segundo fiquei em 5 lugar e nesse último fiquei em 5 lugar de novo. To feliz pelo resultado afinal foram mais de mil e duzentas entradas no torneio, feliz pela premiação mas não satisfeito com meu resultado sei que posso chegar bem mais longe #quemnaotajuntotacontra #osss
Poker and MMA: An Unlikely Pairing?
Poker and MMA have developed something of an unusual bond in recent years. As well as pro fighters such as Martin Kampmann, Dan Henderson and Colby Covington taking to the felt, a number of poker pros have gone in the other direction.
In 2016, high stakes stars Olivier Busquet and JC Alvarado competed in an MMA, while Andrew Robl has been training in the sport for the last few years. Of the poker experts to step into the cage, Terrence Chan has been the most successful.
The back-to-back Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) winner has had four professional bouts since 2012. After picking up wins over Alex Lee, Joco Mabute and Vaz Lep, the 37-year-old suffered his first loss to Keegan Oliver in 2017.