Right now the professional side of bjj / grappling competitions is without a doubt in a growth phase, initially events like ADCC were the only really source of seeing any more from your grappling skills unless you wanted to try your hand in mma. Today we are looking at much different landscape With cash prizes for large tourneys starting in the early 2000’s the game is now at a point where high level grapplers have more than a few options to make some decent cash for their efforts, without having to get punched in the face.
Right now the professional side of bjj / grappling competitions is without a doubt in a growth phase, initially events like ADCC were the only really source of seeing any more from your grappling skills unless you wanted to try your hand in mma.
Today we are looking at much different landscape
With cash prizes for large tourneys starting in the early 2000’s the game is now at a point where high level grapplers have more than a few options to make some decent cash for their efforts, without having to get punched in the face.
Every area has its own little circuit but its safe to say the big boys on the scene today are
- Copa Podia
- Bjj World Pro
- EBI (Eddie bravo invitiational)
Metamoris was first out the gates with good payouts, awesome matches, unique rules set and the big advantage of using names from the BJJ world vs more publicly known names from MMA.
Now it’s a given even the very best MMA grapplers aren’t going to do much under the Ibjjf rules set vs elite competition (say the top 3-5 per weight class).
But you make these matches 20 minutes no points and things get interesting.
Then you take it a step further and add the Gracie name to the mix and everyone is gonna want to watch.
The first event had Ryron Gracie (Torrance family champion) vs Andre galvao (very decorated bjj champion).. 20 mins sub only..
The end result?
Funny enough it validated the points of both’s sides of the argument.
The Sport BJJ guys
The sport BJJ guys clearly pointed out that Andre passed and dominated position the entire fight keeping Ryron on defense the whole time.. proof GJJ was in their eyes “outdated and behind the times.”
The Gracie / Keeping it playful movement
Using the fight as a way to validate the point that defense wins fights when you are the smaller weaker party, many practitioners of GJJ felt vindicated because although out of position most of the match Ryron was never in sub danger and seemed fresher at the end of the match + was holding Andre’s leg threatening a foot lock.
I appreciate Jiu-jitsu in its entirety so the offense from Galvao and defense from Gracie were both great to watch but but the idea of being the smaller weaker guy didn’t hold weight here.
Andre is without a doubt good athlete but Ryron too and not much smaller if at all ..
Anyhow, time passed and more matches + more drama has unfolded.
We had the epic Eddie Bravo vs Royler Gracie rematch which was awesome so it looked like Metamoris was way ahead of the pack but then.. as always the competition started to hustle.
Not everyone cares about the novelty behind a cyborg vs brendad shaubb match and the hardcore BJJ heads would way rather watch the best in the GI go at it in familiar settings.
Thanks to Hosting many of todays best in the GI + A new TV deal Copa Podio has been picking up steam for the BJJ purists. And events like the EBI with their unique rules set and talented roster of fighter are developing a strong following too.
All this plus rumors of issues with investors, lack of pre-event promo + Bad P.R stemming from the attempted exclusive contracts put on athletes competing for Metamoris left them more or less limping into this upcoming event.
The lineup was solid but the BUZZ just wasn’t there..
Until !!!!! This past Tuesday night when word dropped the Cyborg was out vs Josh Barnett and none other than Mr keeping it Playfull was stepping in to compete against for the first time since Metamoris #1
Now the gravity of this hasn’t really set in too many. But let me lay the pieces out on the table
Big Difference in style & weight
Despite all the marketing buzz and “keeping it Playful” talk Ryron Gracie is legit on the mats, has a very solid base game is great at what he does.
But is still stepping in at least 50 lbs lighter than Barnett in this match.
This is a very dangerous fight for Ryron because unlike BJJ where its technique and finesse based, Catch wrestling is admittedly all about power + pain, using it wear the opponent down and get the reaction you are looking for..
Great example of this is Josh Barnett vs Dean Lister, Josh was ridding the top position heavily with some really rough tactics keeping elbows and knee in spots generally looked down on in BJJ circles… After all that and carrying all the weight most of the match it was a lot easier for Barnett to score his submission on Dean to close out the match
To make things worse and I don’t know if it has anything to do with catch wrestling per say, but Josh Barnett as a training partner is a real ass and will hurt you on the mats.
Southern California is home to a heavily concentrated grappling community so word travels fast and everyone is only a few degrees of separation away from other high level competitors.
A friend staying in the same house as me for my ufc 129 training camp was working out at barnetts gym and the poor came home brutalized one day, I mean ground beef for a leg.. Training hard is one thing but ive never seen anyone pound a training partner like that.
That’s a training partner!!! If you are willing to them what will you do to an opponent??
With all the bragging rights on the line in this match things could get rough.
This is not a time to keep anything playfull Barnett brings the pain and Ryron’s gotta be serious
Who will win The “Catch wrestling vs BJJ” Marketing Battle??
I’ll take a good technique from any source I can get it and the labels mean nothing to me, it either works or it doesn’t. But the aspect of Marketing in this fight cant be overlooked at all.
If Barnett wins it will put new wind back into the sails of the catch wrestling fans and practitioners by proving not only can they beat bjj black belts but also the Gracie’s!!!
If Ryron wins, or just manages to not tap for the 20 minutes it is the icing on the cake for them and further validation that Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is all you need to defend yourself vs impossible odds!!
I don’t see Ryron pulling off the sub in this one as Barnett while no wizard on the mats definitely knows whats up and will be tough to catch.. if Ryron were bigger than josh this would be child’s play for him as the catch guys aren’t much known for their defensive ability.
But that’s all fantasy. The reality is Josh is much larger and stronger and will have top position for most if not all of the match. I also can’t see him tapping Ryron with anything conventional but curious to see what tactics he uses to make It happen
Im calling a draw and as a result a win for the keeping it playful movement