February 1, 2012

Ultimate Absolute Feb 25th 2012 and It's Impact on Professional Grappling

According to our very first poll, of which 19 of you participated, 47% of you guys would like to hear more of my opinions and I can't think of a better subject matter then the upcoming (Feb 25) Ultimate Absolute NYC.  Organized and run by Renzo Gracie black belt Rob Constance, New York City's Ultimate Absolute debuted last year as a true absolute weight no gi, no holds barred tournament.  Winner takes home $10,000!  Andre Galvao took home the win and the dough, along with $1000 per submission!!

On the new Open Mat Radio Rob sits down and discusses the Ultimate Absolute and the upcoming lightweight tournament featuring the likes of JT Torres, Reilly Bodycomb, Justin Rader, Denny Prokopos, Mike Fowler, Ryan Hall, Celso Venicius, Cobrinha, Chris Brennan, Gianni Grippo, Mark Ramos, Renan Borges, Samuel Braga, Roman Flores, Wilson Reis, Bruno Frazatto, and Bruno Malfacine.  Click the highlighted link above to listen to the podcast, and sign up and support the guys over at Open Mat.  They are doing a good job so far!

I won't ruin the interview for you all, but I wanted to touch on one thing Rob talks about as being the reason for starting the Ultimate Absolute; to spark the flame that will get grappling to a professional level.  As your eyes peruse my words dozens of grappling (whichever genera you wish; Sambo / BJJ / No Gi / etc.) schools are opening across the country, throughout the world!  We have "world championships," "pan ams," and yet our top tier athletes win no money at these events (save the Abu Dhabi Combat Championships), and are lucky if they have some of their expenses covered via sponsorship they can drum up.  This needs to change.

The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competition community is very distracted right now, quite frankly I do not think anyone anticipated the growth and boom we have seen in the past 5-10 years.  Brazilian Jiu Jitsu certainly was born in Brazil, but it has cut its teeth and matured here in the United States.  The IBJJF has been running excellent tournaments, and they have their format down pretty darn well as I have observed it.  Now I believe it is time to take things a step further by facilitating conversation and feedback from their audience; the competitors.  Does the community wish to take BJJ into the realm of professional grappling, or do we desire the often talked about Olympic sport pursuit?  Our direction will reciprocate in future generations and set the standard for years to come, so it is high time to start serious discussions and get the feedback of what the marrow of the sport wants.

We need more communication and open forum in our community.  If no one asks for these things then organizations such as the IBJJF will become complacent and stagnant.  On the flip side of that coin the IBJJF needs to also have some method of contacting and communicating with the those making major decisions.  This is the contact page for the IBJJF via their website.  I have never received a response from the IBJJF contact, but I will admit the referee's address is valid and they respond to questions about rules.  But no other mention of names, nor contact's for them.

I am all for professional athletes getting paid professional money for the hard work, training, and abuse they put their body, minds, and souls through.  We need more of these styles of tournaments and I applaud Rob for stepping up to be one of the pioneers of getting the great of our sport what they have earned.  I hope the Ultimate Absolute is the first of many similar format tournaments to come as it truly showcases grappling at its finest with the most amazing athletes in the world!


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