Renzo Gracie Blackbelt

JohnRalloRallo began training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Rickson Gracie Rep Mark Finley in May of 1998. After two weeks of bjj training Finley asked Rallo if he would like to fight MMA. All fighters who wanted to represent Rickson needed Rickson’s permission to fight as a pro.

Finley took Rallo to Atlantic City to seek Rickson’s approval. At a seminar there Rickson rolled with many participants. He was tapping one person after another with relative ease. When Rallo got his turn he actually lasted over 6 mintues with 2 just weeks of bjj training. Rallo muscled his way out of several submission attempts which actually got applause from the crowd !! Eventually the amazing Rickson Gracie tapped Rallo despite giving up almost 100 lbs. But after seeing the potential in Rallo, Rickson gave his blessing to fight under his name.

After dominating the local tournament scene Rallo and Finley decided John should test himself outside of the state. Rallo entered the New York City Grappling Challenge where he once again placed first. Rallo then went to Virginia to win the East Coast Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Championships (Gi). Then on to New Jersey in 1999 where Rallo won the East Coast grapplers Cup (both the heavy weight and absolute championships). At this tounament John met Renzo Gracie and began to speak to him about training with his team. 2 weeks later Rallo was back in NJ to win the Grapplers Quest. After this tournament Renzo offered to train John and he jumped at the opportunity.

Rallo won all of these tournaments while still “officially” a white belt. So in his first day training with Renzo, Rallo was promoted to blue belt. Rallo has been a member of the Renzo Gracie Family ever since. Over the next several years Rallo would travel to NY and NJ twice a week. There he had the opportunity to train with Renzo, Sean Alvarez, Matt Serra, Ricardo Almeida, Rodrigo Gracie, Daniel Gracie, and a host of top notch competitors from the Renzo Gracie family. Rallo also has an impressive list of people he has trained with from other bjj/mma teams.

During that time Rallo competed/medaled in numerous grappling tournaments including NAGA, ADCC trials, the Pro Ams. Rallo also began to fight MMA under Renzo compiling a 5-0 record over the next 3 years. Rallo last fought in the W.E.C in 2002 TKO-ing his opponent in the first round. Rallo was supposed to fight twice in 2003. His first opponent was supposed to be BJJ black belt, Fabiano Scherner. Due to visa trouble Scherner was a no show. Rallo was then in line for a title shot in Reality Fighting. Training for the fight Rallo tore his ACL and was unable to compete. During his rehab Rallo was invited to compete in the 2nd season of T.U.F. on Spike TV. Unfortunately he was unable to compete having had knee surgery 3 weeks prior.

Rallo then turned his focus to the school. Growing the academy in rapid fashion Rallo has produced many champions in both grappling and mma competition. Rallo has also been able to assist teammates in the Renzo Gracie family succeed by traveling to NY and NJ to help teammates prepare for events such as the UFC, Pride, Pancrase, IFL, Bodog fight, ADCC World Submission Championships, etc.

For several months Rallo was traveling to NJ twice a week to help submission master Roger Gracie prepare for his MMA debut against Ron Waterman. During these training sessions Renzo decided to promote Rallo to blackbelt.

On Nov. 22, 2006 John was promoted to Black Belt by the legendary Renzo Gracie. He is the first Renzo Gracie Blackbelt in the state of Maryland.

Rallo also trained in boxing for over 7 years. He trained under coach Robert Crawford through 2002. From 2002 to the present Rallo trains boxing/muay thai with Ground Control’s boxing instructor Henry Smith.

Rallo also had the good fortune to train wrestling with Eisa Momeni. Eisa was a member of the Iranian national team. He also represented Iran in the Olympics. Rallo traded knowledge with him for several years until Eisa moved to Virginia. Now Eisa’sbrother Musa (also an Iranian national tema member) is helping train John and his students.

Outside of the grappling and MMA world Rallo is also a protection specialist. Rallo has toured with groups such as Motley Crue and Rock Star Supernova. He has also done personal work for Tommy Lee, Johnny Colt, and Domenick Lombardozzi.

Most recently, Rallo personally initiated enactment of laws legalizing amateur and professional MMA competition in his home state of Maryland. Always emphasizing the safety of the fighters as his main priority, and promising to develop and grow that culture in his events, he walked the idea personally into new state legislation.

Rallo got MMA legalized in Maryland.

A visionary, Rallo conceived, owns, and operates SHOGUN – the first and only MMA venue for amateur and professional fighters to compete in Maryland; in a safe while always exciting venue. Having accomplished all that, Rallo remains the head MMA coach for Team Ground Control, with excellent amateur and pro team records gaining greater recognition with each event.


Senior BJJ Instructor

John Rallo Brazillian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt
Japanese Jiu-Jitsu Blackbelt – 2nd degree
Aikido Blackbelt
Police Defensive Tactics Instructor
Founder – Maryland Jiu-Jitsu Academy (precursor to Ground Control Baltimore)


BJJ Instructor

John Rallo BJJ Black Belt
Lung-Fu-Do Karate Black Belt – 6th degree


BJJ Instructor

John Rallo BJJ Black Belt
Multiple NAGA Championships
(Web Assistant)

No Gi Instructor


BJJ Instructor

John Rallo BJJ Blackbelt


Muay Thai Coach

John Rallo BJJ Blue Belt

No Gi Instructor


Asst. Boxing/Muay Thai

WKA North American Champion/Stellar Fights 145 & 147lb Champion

Muay Thai Instructor



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