Waldo Zapata: Record, Net Worth, Weight, Age & More!
Who is Waldo Zapata?
Waldo Zapata was a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and one of the most sought after coaches in the industry. He was one of the pioneers of BJJ in his home country of Sweden and helped many other Swedes find their stride in the combat sports world. One of his best students, Simon Skold, is a successful and active MMA fighter on the European Circuit.
What this article covers:
- Who is Waldo Zapata?
- How Old is Waldo Zapata?
- How Much Does Waldo Zapata Weigh?
- Waldo Zapata Fight List
- Waldo Zapata Record
Zapata’s martial arts career began in 1980, when his parents introduced him to his father’s favorite pastime: Kyokushin Karate. Kyokushin is a brutally hard style of Karate, practiced with bare knuckles and emphasizing toughness and conditioning. After all, Waldo was nearly four years old- time to toughen up! With this as an introduction to martial arts, the bar was set high for the young Waldo to succeed in the combat sports world.
He stayed with various striking martial arts for over a decade until he finally attended a BJJ Seminar with Alexandre Paiva as Jiu jitsu was beginning to find it’s commercial success in the united states. It was 1996, and the UFC had debuted only three short years ago in 1993. Martial artists like Zapata had heard tales of a small Brazilian man beating giant strikers in the ring and started flocking to seek the grappling knowledge Royce Gracie had shown in competition.
From his first seminar, Zapata was hooked on the sport of brazilian jiu jitsu and has trained full time. He began to rank up through the system under Alexandre as a blue and then a purple belt, but slowed his progression down when his team fell apart. He found himself in an MMA focused gym that didn’t have time to dedicate to grappling. Luckily a friend from Grcie Humaita reached out and invited Waldo to train with him. Here, with the grapplers, Zapata again found his home. He trained and studied under them for three months before coming back to Sweden to find the place still devoid of any grappling culture.
After some time searching for his place, Peter Blackwell reached out to Zapata about joining his team as a bJJ coach in Stockholm. With an opportunity to focus on grappling in his home country, Zapata finally had what he’d been seeking.
The next few years found Zapata continuing to train with some of the best jiu jitsu talent on the planet, including Leonardo Vieira, Robert Drysdale, and Demain Maia. While working with these killers, Zapata learned what it meant to be a champion and, even more importantly, a model for his students. While Vierira, Drysdale, and Maia were all champions in their own rite, the three men share something else: an extreme proficiency for teaching the art of grappling.
Things stayed stable for a few years but eventually the teams experienced more drama and underwent another split. At the time, Zapat followed his leader, Leo Vieira, who had ranked him up to black belt. He opened a Check Mat affiliate and began to train and coach under that banner. Before long, the politics were too much for Zapata. He desired to go out on his own and create a culture of his own design. He split with Check Mat and created his own academy, Viva Zapata.
Although he coached and trained alongside some of the very best names in jiju jitsu history, competition was never a focus for Zapata. He credits Peter Blackwell will helping him overcome his fear of competitions, and for good reason. Although it didn’t define him, Zapata won the European Championships in 2007. He also has several bronze and silver medals in the European Championships and in other major competitions. Although a herniated disc forced him out of competition in 2007, he remains grateful to blackwell for introducing him to this world.
Zapata battled cancer privately beginning around 2020, but was not public with the information. November 2022 brought a sad surprise for many as Zapata passed away, bringing the news of his battle with cancer to light. Before his passing, Waldo got to see his dream fulfilled in Viva Zapata’s success.
Zapata was an outsider to BJJ Culture: a Chilean national raised in Sweden who eventually found his way to Brazil to exchange ideas and make friends. Along the way, however, he repeatedly found himself a man without a camp, as the infighting on the Brazilian teams caused several major splits throughout his career. Because of the personal effect that team politics had on Zapata, he founded his academy to create a safe haven for everyone.
Viva Zapata was founded to represent a “rebellion” from traditional team politics. Zapata encouraged visitors to his school, and encouraged his students to travel and learn, just as he did in his trips to Brazil. Zapata repeatedly stated that his only team was “team BJJ” and wanted to create a new pattern in the sport he loved: one where brotherhood came first and translated across team boundaries.
How Old is Waldo Zapata?
Waldo Zapata was born on March 18th in 1976. He turned 46 years old in March, shortly before he passed away in November of 2022. He was beloved by his family, his teammates, and his students, who supported him through his long battle with cancer. The MMA Community has honored him in many write ups since his passing.
Waldo Zapata Family
Not much has been published about Waldo Zapata’s family. He maintains a private life, preferring to focus on the sport when interviewed. His father was from Chile and his mother from Sweden, where he was born and raised.
How Much is Waldo Zapata Worth?
Waldo Zapata’s net worth is not public information.
How Tall is Waldo Zapata?
Zapata’s height was never officially recorded, as he competed in grappling tournaments only.
How Much Does Waldo Zapata Weigh?
Waldo Zapata competed most often at 195 pounds, or about 88 kg. He won the IBJJF European Championship as a medium heavyweight.
Waldo Zapata Fight List
Zapata was a competitor for a brief period, where he frequented the IBJJF European nationals, even winning gold one time. Still, he was never focused primarily on competing and was fully dedicated to coaching by 2007, at only 28 years old.
Waldo Zapata's Best Fight of All Time
Zapata’s best tournament showing was the 2007 IBJJF European Championship, where he won gold for the Brasa association.
Who Did Waldo Zapata Lose To?
Zapata lost plenty of matches, but he wasn’t a competitor by nature. His focus was always on teaching, and he competed as a way to improve his own education. In his own words from a 2014 interview, the 2007 European Medium Heavyweight Champion stated “competing was never my thing.”
Waldo Zapata Record
Waldo’s grappling record hasn’t been compiled. He was first and foremost a teacher, although he mixed it up with Drysdale, the Vieira brothers, and Demian Maia in training.
Waldo Zapata Injuries
Grappling injuries are quite normal, and Waldo Zapata had some nasty ones. He competed for a short time in the mid 2000s, but was forced to focus on coaching when a herniated disc retired him early in 2007. As a coach, it’s not necessarily news when you’re hurt. Zapata would have been much more public with the injuries of his athletes, if and when required. Certainly some of them were forced to withdraw from matches in the course of his long career. Still, Zapata believed in full body fitness and helped his athletes work towards a complete program that supported their combat sports goals while still keeping them resilient and healthy.
Is Waldo Zapata Retired?
Waldo had a short competition career, competing only once as an amateur in 2009. Instead, he left his mark by helping others achieve their best. Zapato was sought after as a coach of his own academy where many top level athletes, including Simon Skold, found their footing in the combat sports world. He will be remembered as a great instructor and a mentor for those around him who sought to walk the same path!
In life, Zapata worked hard to hone his craft not only as a competitor, but as a creator of instructional videos. His work with one of his best fighters, Skold, is recorded for others to learn from. Take a look at “Precision Power Striking for MMA” by both Zapata and Skold, to get a taste of what it means to be successful at the highest levels. Zapata and his prodigy bring you helpful tips for using angles and distance to create power for striking in mixed martial arts.
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