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Pete the Greek Letsos: Record, Net Worth, Weight, Age & More!
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Pete the Greek Letsos: Record, Net Worth, Weight, Age & More!

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Who Is Pete the Greek Letsos?

Pete the Greek Letsos is an American black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu under the legendary founder of the Carlson Gracie Academy himself, Carlson Gracie, Jr.. Letsos was among the second wave of Americans to become BJJ experts in the late 90s after taking note of the success of Royce Gracie in The Ultimate Fighting Championship events that would eventually become the UFC.  

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Who Is Pete the Greek Letsos?

Pete the Greek Letsos is an American black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu under the legendary founder of the Carlson Gracie Academy himself, Carlson Gracie, Jr.. Letsos was among the second wave of Americans to become BJJ experts in the late 90s after taking note of the success of Royce Gracie in The Ultimate Fighting Championship events that would eventually become the UFC.  

What this article covers:

Pete the Greek is well-known and well respected for both his tournament results and his efforts as a coach. He’s been around since the early days of BJJ in America and trained with some of the best and biggest names in the sport, including Carlson Gracie Jr., Andre Galvão, Miguel Torres, Eddie Bravo, Jeff Glover, Kenny Florian, and BJ Penn. The MMA community has royalty, and Pete the Greek Letsos is part of it. You might know him from his Facebook slogan, “Wrist Lock the World”, which is also the title of one of his BJJ Fanatics instructionals!

Wrist Lock The World by Pete Letsos

Letsos was born in 1979 in Chicago. His journey in Jiu-Jitsu began during his high school years at the Carlson Gracie Academy in downtown Chicago. He had seen Royce Gracie dominate kickboxers and professional wrestlers and was interested in this new-to-the-US martial art. After some time spent training, he decided to live in Brazil in order to hone his skills alongside both old and future legends in the homeplace of the sport, including Osvaldo Alves and Carlson Gracie.

Unfortunately, Letsos found himself in the middle of an unstable team upon arriving in Brazil. The rift was marked by the departure of many black belts, including Murilo Bustamante and Ricardo Liborio, who went on to establish Brazilian Top Team. They wanted to bring BJJ to the MMA stage in Royce’s footsteps, while Carlson and Carlson Jr. wanted to stick to their roots of grappling and Gracie Jiu Jitsu.

With the Gracie Barra split, Letsos made the decision to train occasionally with both factions as well as to seek out individuals whom he wanted to learn from. The Greek even spent a period of time living in Andre Galvão’s house once his money ran out, giving him access to some of the best teammates and coaching on the planet.

As a purple belt, Letsos displayed his jiu jitsu skills on the world stage, winning at the Gracie Invitationals, the State Trials of Sao Paolo, The Relson Gracie Open, the Pan American Games, and Copa Atlantica. He earned his reputation during this short stint and also his nickname, which was a result of the difficulty that Brazilians had pronouncing his Greek name in their shared language of English. “Pete the Greek” was affectionately close enough.

After years spent in Brazil training and competing with the best teams on the planet, Pete returned home to Chicago and received his brown belt. He also continued to travel around and cross-train, which was somewhat of an uncommon practice at the time. Still, Letsos spent time out in Hawaii with BJ Penn to learn what he could. 

Finally, in 2006, Pete the Greek became Pete the Black Belt under Carlson Junior. One year after achieving this lifelong goal, Letsos opened his own academy, Rio Jiu Jitsu, in his hometown of Chicago. He still owns and operates this school today, while also producing online content through BJJ Fanatics. 

Normally, we’re bragging about a new release, or a few products. With Pete the Greek, nothing is small: He’s got seventeen instructionals available in BJJ Fanatics’ store, running the gamut of audiences from “Jiu-Jitsu for Beginners: 6-12 Months” to perhaps his bestseller (and definitely his catchphrase), “Wrist Lock The World”.

Greek Style Front Headlock by Pete Letsos

How Old Is Pete the Greek Letsos? 

Pete the Greek was born in December of 1979 in Chicago, Illinois. That makes him 43 years old at the time of writing in 2023. Given his elder status in the BJJ community, Letsos is actually still quite young. He made a name for himself as an early twenty-something while competing in Brazil as a purple belt.

Pete the Greek Letsos Family

Not much has been published about Pete the Greek Letsos’s family in the media. He talks jiu jitsu when speaking publicly as a representative of his very own, Rio Jiu Jitsu, which is located in Chicago.

How Much is Pete the Greek Letsos Worth?

Pete the Greek Letsos’s net worth is not public information, but he is a successful coach and instructional creator who has also claimed some serious hardware in the early days of major, top-level Brazilian jiu jitsu tournaments. He is a well known social media presence and prolific creator of content, with almost 20 products for sale through Fanatics.

How Tall is Pete the Greek Letsos?

Pete the Greek Letsos’s height isn’t known. Height is not typically disclosed in public for grappling tournaments. The focus is more on an athlete's weight class and belt level.

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How Much Does Pete the Greek Letsos Weigh? 

Pete the Greek competed at both lightweight (168 lbs) and middleweight (182 lbs) in the early days of BJJ, from 1999-2003, while living on Osvaldo Alvez’ mats and Andre Galvão’s carpet.

Pete the Greek Letsos Fight List

Pete the Greek Letsos was an active competitor from a young age. His nickname comes from his time competing in Brazil as a young man, where he won seven local tournaments in the span of a month and garnered enough attention to earn his moniker. Since that time he has competed occasionally, but his greatest focus for nearly 20 years, since 2006, has been coaching. Take a look at his accomplishments on his tour of Brazil, earned while training at Gracie Barra, Brazilian Top Team, and with many other legends of the early days:

  • 1999 Pan American Championships - Bronze (Blue Belt)
  • 2001 Gracie Invitational - Double Gold (Purple Belt - Weight & Absolutes)
  • 2000 Pan American Championships - Bronze (Blue Belt)
  • 2002 Sao Paulo State Trials - Gold (Purple Belt)
  • 2003 Copa Atlantica - Bronze (Purple Belt)
  • 2003 Relson Gracie Open - Gold (Purple Belt)
  • 2003 Pan American Championships - Bronze (Purple Belt - Absolutes)

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Pete the Greek Letsos's Best Fight of All Time

In 2001, Pete the Greek was looking to prove his value on the international circuit and had a chance to do so when he was invited to the Gracie Invitational that year. Not only did he smash through a field of Brazilians on his way to gold in his weight class, but he also won gold in the purple belt open weight absolutes. This tournament victory put his name on the map, and enabled him to continue to train and compete in Brazil for the next few years before returning home to Chicago to receive his brown belt. 

Who Did Pete the Greek Letsos Lose To?

Pete trained with some of the all time greats at an early time in the development of American BJJ. We’re sure he took his losses to some of the best names of all time behind closed doors. Since he competed so long ago, before the IBJJF was really established as the premier league, the records of his opponents aren’t online.

Pete the Greek Letsos Record

Pete competed early on, in the late 90s and early 2000s, when record keeping wasn’t what it is today. The IBJJF was founded just a year before Letsos stopped competing to focus on coaching, while The Greek was building towards the eventual creation of his own academy, Rio Jiu Jitsu.

Pete the Greek Letsos Injuries

We don’t know of any injuries in Letsos’ career, but we’re certain he took his punishment from some of the best Brazilian grapplers around at the time. Grappling is inherently tough on the body so, even by age 41, he’s likely got some banged up limbs. We know that advocates wrist locking your opponent before they wrist lock you as a fundamental aspect of jiu jitsu.

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Is Pete the Greek Letsos Retired?

Pete the Greek retired early. As a purple belt, in fact. After his four year tour of competing in Brazil, Letsos was addicted to learning and teaching. He came home to Chicago in 2003 and was eventually promoted to black belt by Carlson Gracie, Jr. before opening his own school in 2006. In that time, he continued to make friends and travel, spending time in Hawaii with BJ Penn and with Eddie Bravo in Los Angeles. 

All told, Pete the Greek is an amazing example of what BJJ stands for. He found himself in the middle of a split affiliation, found a way to work with both sides, and even made outside connections to continue his journey cross-training in a foreign place. If you want to learn even more from this modern day ronin of BJJ, check out one of his 17 amazing products.

There’s a ton of great content to choose from, and it can be daunting to figure out where to start. Our recommendation is the same one you’ll get from Pete the Greek Himself: “Wristlock the World.”

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