The Brian Ortega Foundation

My name is Brian Ortega. I am a professional MMA fighter and a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Instructor.

When I was thirteen years old, my father enrolled me at Gracie University of Jiu-Jitsu (formerly Gracie Academy) so that I could learn self-defense and stay out of trouble. I loved learning jiu-jitsu, but after one year of training, my family couldn’t afford the tuition anymore. When my father notified my instructor, Rener Gracie, that he was going to pull me out of class, Rener said something to my father that would change my life forever, “Don’t worry about the tuition, I’ll take it from here.”

From that point on, Rener took me under his wing, and I helped out in every way that I could: cleaning the mats, folding uniforms, moving supplies, assisting him during classes, and more. I grew up in a rough neighborhood with a lot of negativity, and for several years, Gracie University was my only safe place. Without the escape and positivity that jiu-jitsu provided me, I might have ended up dead or in jail.

Even though my jiu-jitsu journey led me to the UFC, a person does not need to pursue a professional fighting career in order to benefit from the art. The discipline, respect, confidence, work ethic and positive role models that jiu-jitsu provides are foundations for success that many kids in underserved communities don’t have access to. I created the Brian Ortega Foundation to make the world a better place by helping kids reach their full potential.

-Brian Ortega


The T-city Scholarship is a full-tuition scholarship for one year of training at any Certified Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Training Center in the world, including Gracie University Headquarters where Brian Ortega trains and teaches. Although we intend to broaden the scope of the scholarship in the future, for now a child must meet the following criteria in order to be considered for the T-city Scholarship:

  • Must be between 6 to 16 years of age
  • Must live near a Certified Training Center (CTC)
  • Must have means of transportation to the CTC (car, bus, bike, etc.)

Step 1: Submitting an Application
If the child meets the above criteria, he/she may submit a scholarship application (with parent/guardian approval) by submitting an email to with the following information:

  1. Full name and age of the child
  2. Contact information (phone and email)
  3. City, state and country of residence
  4. Address of the nearest Certified Training Center
  5. Goals and aspirations of the child
  6. Detailed explanation of why the child should be considered for the scholarship (financial challenges, family difficulties, personal challenges, exposure to violence, etc.)
  7. Two References (with contact information) who can speak to the status of the family/child (must not be family members)

Although our goal is to help as many children as we can, we will focus on helping those in greatest need first. The initial application review process takes time, and we will reply to you as soon as possible. Please do not submit multiple applications for the same child. Thank you for your patience.

Step 2: In-Person Interview
After the written application is reviewed, if the child is selected for scholarship consideration, they will be invited to an in-person interview (along with a parent or guardian) at the nearest Certified Training Center. The purpose of the interview is to learn more about the child and to further verify that they are the best candidate for the scholarship.

Step 3: Begin the Jiu-Jitsu Journey
After the in-person interview at the CTC, a final decision will be made. If the scholarship is approved, the child will be able to begin the jiu-jitsu journey right away, and all tuition fees will be covered by the Brian Ortega Foundation for a full year!