A rundown of the biggest headlines and news from the world of competitive grappling.
Professional Jiu-Jitsu competition has long been regarded as a sport where it’s virtually impossible for athletes to make good money. First it was instructional sites like BJJ Fanatics that brought some money into the sport by allowing athletes to reach a wider market and earn a profit from the techniques they’ve spent years to develop. Then organizations like ADCC began to up the ante and offer up to $40,000 for winners.
Now, the most successful no gi competitor on the planet right now is proving that sponsorship can also be a lucrative avenue for BJJ competitors to pursue. It was recently announced that he had signed a $100,000 sponsorship deal with Bitcoin Cash for his ADCC 2022 appearance. The news sent shockwaves through the sport and will change the landscape of compensation in BJJ, so much so that even Forbes had to pay attention.
A new generation of IBJJF European champions crowned
The IBJJF European Open is one of the most exciting events of the gi competition calendar and it routinely gathers together some of the best grapplers from all across the world. This year was no exception and the fact that this was the first edition for two years added an extra layer of anticipation. A new generation of champions were crowned, although it featured some familiar European faces like Adam Wardzinski and Espen Mathiesen.
The two biggest winners of the weekend were Fellipe Andrew and Gabrieli Pessanha, both of whom came away from the event with two gold medals after winning the male and female absolute divisions respectively. The most inspirational story came in the Ultra-Heavyweight division, where Rafael Lovato Jr won his first major title in almost a decade at the age of 38 and just shortly after being retiring from MMA on medical grounds.
The Daisy Fresh team emerge victorious at Grapplefest 11
Grapplefest staged a unique event this weekend, bringing a whole host of elite competitors from the Pedigo Submission Fighting team over to the UK to take on the best that Europe has to offer. In the end, Heath Pedigo’s talent managed to win the majority of their matches on the night and all three title matches were won by North Americans. ADCC trials winner John Hansen was up first and he submitted Jamie Hughes with a Rear-naked Choke.
The next title on the line was the female openweight title and Kendall Reusing managed to fight off stiff competition from Ffion Davies in order to take home the belt. In the main event matchup, Dante Leon had the opportunity to upgrade his interim 80kg title to an undisputed one and he clearly wanted to make the most of it. He came out fast and submitted Mateusz Szcecinski with an armbar in just a little over two minutes.
Renzo becomes fourth Gracie added to ADCC Hall of Fame
The ADCC Hall of Fame is pretty heavily dominated by Brazilian competitors and naturally, one family is particularly prominent among them. It started at the very beginning, as Roger Gracie was the first inductee to be announced, and Kyra Gracie was the first female inductee too. The Gracie presence continued to grow when Royler Gracie was inducted as well, thanks to his three ADCC world championships in a row.
Now the Gracie presence has grown once again as Renzo has been announced as the latest inductee. He was the original champion of the 77kg weight class all the way back in 1998 at the very first ADCC world championship and went on to compete at that weight in four more ADCC events, winning another gold medal in the process. He was even brave enough to try his hand at the 88kg and 99kg divisions once each as well.
Footage emerged of famous actor Mario Lopez entering a Compnet BJJ tournament as a blue belt and coming away with a gold medal.
Khabib Nurmagomedov finally spoke out about the rumors of a grappling match between him and Georges St-Pierre, shutting them down once and for all.
Brazilian supermodel and famous celebrity Gisele Bundchen has just started training BJJ with the Valente Brothers.