Ricardo “Animal” Migliarese (aka Rick Migliarese, born December 17, 1978) is an American born professional Brazilian Jiu Jitsu grappler and a 4th degree Relson Gracie Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt with approximately 20 years of experience in BJJ and Mixed Martial Arts. A World and Pan-Am Champion, Rick is a trainer, training partner and coach to UFC and MMA fighters as well as other World and Pan-Am Champions. He currently lives in Philadelphia, PA where he teaches at Balance Studios which he co-owns with his brother, Phil Migliarese. Rick is also one of the co-founders/co-owners of Matrix Fights Promotion Company.
Ricardo began his athletic training with boxing lessons at age 12. His older brother Phil was already studying BJJ at Maxercise and Rick occasionally attended classes at Maxercise with him. It wasn’t until age 16 that he began his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes regularly, attending class several times a week and cleaning the school to pay for his tuition. Soon, Rick began to compete in in-house tournaments with favorable results. Rick and Phil decided to study the martial art at the Gracie Academy in California and spent much of that time dedicating themselves to their teacher training. Learning directly from Grand Master Helio Gracie as well as other prominent members of the Gracie family, Rick began to take his own practice to the next level.
In 2002, Phil and Rick opened Balance Studios, the only Relson Gracie affiliate in Philadelphia. After injuring his knee in 2004 and knee surgery in 2005, Rick modified a standard guard position, the butterfly guard, so that he could train while protecting his knee. He created the “Broken butterfly” guard which was showcased in an issue of Tap-Out Magazine. Ricardo received his black belt from Relson Gracie in December 2004 and is one of only 28 people to receive this honor from Relson who is notorious for being very hard on promotions.
Rothman Institute was the orthopedic center that Ricardo went for 4 major surgeries. (2 knee surgeries, elbow and pectoral). He is currently training every day and is back 110% and also sends all his students who get injured straight to Rothman Institute.
Rick and Phil have trained professional athletes and MMA fighters including Philadelphia Eagles Tra Thomas and Winston Justice, UFC fighters Frankie Edgar and Waylon Lowe, Bellator fighter Tim Carpenter. Team Balance World and Pan-Am Champions include Rick Macauley, Dan Haney, Timmy Hart, Shaun Smith, Guy Winters, Ken Primola, Noah Spear. Rick and Phil continue to teach adult and children's seminars, regular classes and programs for local police officers and FBI agents. Rick has been featured in several Magazine articles including “Growing Up Gracie” in MMA Worldwide magazine and as an author in Philadelphia Magazine ( “The Jiu Jitsu Lifestyle” ).