Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu, who will compete in this weekend’s pro divisions at Grapplers Quest, in action against Mike Fowler at the BJJ World Championships in 2008.
Southern California has long been the epicenter of Brazilian jiu-jitsu training outside Brazil. When the Gracie family first left Rio de Janeiro to spread their art, they chose Los Angeles as their base of operations, and today San Diego boasts some of the highest quality jiu-jitsu instruction anywhere*. For whatever reason however, whenever it comes to jiu-jitsu tournaments, San Diego has always been neglected by the larger promoters… until now.
This Saturday and Sunday in San Diego, Grapplers Quest will hold both a no-gi and gi competition respectively at the FightExpo. What’s the FightExpo? It’s a large mixed martial arts and extreme sports convention, or, as the organizers refer to it, “The World Class Mixed Martial Arts and X-Sports Supershow”. The event will feature everything from motocross displays to MMA seminars, tons of MMA celebrity appearances and charity events. Various media outlets including E!, TMZ, FOX, CBS, and this humble Brazilian jiu-jitsu internet radio show are expected to be present to report on the action.
Most important to us here at The FightWorks Podcast, is of course, the jiu-jitsu competitions. In speaking with Grapplers Quest president Brian Cimins yesterday, he indicated that he expects between 1,500 and 1,700 competitors to take part this weekend across all the children, teen, and adult divisions. A total of twelve competition mats will be in operation all day on both days of the event.
If the BJJ Pan-Ams are viewed as the sneak peek to the annual World Championships due to the large number of respected jiu-jitsu competitors taking part, this Grapplers Quest may be the sneak peek to the sneak peek. Among those slated to compete this weekend in the absolute pro-divisions:
- Bill “The Grill” Cooper (Paragon)
- Jeff “The Pipelayer” Glover (Paragon)
- Rafael Lovato Jr. (UNIJJ)
- Romulo Barral (Gracie Barra)
- Lucas Leite
- Fabricio Werdum
- Roberto “Tussa” Alencar (Gracie Barra)
- Big Leo Santos (UNIJJ)
- Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu
Jiu-jitsu black belt Vinicius Magalhaes of The Ultimate Fighter was originally scheduled to compete, but after a polite call from the UFC’s Joe Silva asking that Magalhaes not participate, he was withdrawn from the competition as he recently was selected to compete on UFC 97.
In any case spectators will be in store for quite a show of high-end jiu-jitsu. In examining some of the names in those pro divisions, we see that among the large field of very big guys, both Jeff Glover and Bill Cooper will surely have their hands full. But that is what absolute divisions are for, right?
In sum: for once San Diego’s sizable jiu-jitsu population does not need to drive to Los Angeles or Las Vegas for its well-deserved big jiu-jitsu tournament!