Stakeholders from the largest BJJ camps negotiate the absolute division brackets.
Ever wonder how the matchups are made in the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt open division of the World Championships? It’s no mistake that the very top contenders are not seeded against each other in the first round of this prestigious BJJ tournament. Just as we don’t see Germany compete against France in the first round of the FIFA World Cup, names like Xande Ribeiro and Roger Gracie would not be matched up against each other at the beginning of the tournament.
But who decides the matchups then? According to Mike Buckels, event coordinator for the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation:
At the moment there are no official rankings from the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation for BJJ competitors. While that may be something we work out in the future, at the moment the best way to decide the absolute division is through consultation with those involved.
So on Saturday morning, the first day of black belt competition, a select group of representatives from the major BJJ camps gathered early in the morning to decide the brackets with representatives from the IBJJF.
With so much on the line, one might think that the atmosphere inside the room would be very tense. However the mood among the BJJ leaders present, who have all known each other for years on and off the mat, was warm and the only raising of voices came from frequent laughter as friendly jokes were cracked.
After a half hour or so the final decisions were made about the matchups between the elite BJJ black belts present last weekend, and all parties left content with the brackets. They did not go wrong, as the black belt open division was intense, and the Long Beach Pyramid was electric all the way to the very final match!
Clockwise starting from top left: Mauricio Motta Gomes (Gracie Barra), Royler Gracie (Gracie Humaita), Fabio Gurgel (Alliance), Demian Maia (Brasa), Saulo Ribeiro (Gracie Humaita), and Marcio Feitosa (Gracie Barra).