Rio de Janeiro is sometimes referred to as the Mecca of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and many claim that sunny San Diego, California is BJJ’s Medina. In any case, the Arab world itself is doing very well in building a concentration of high level BJJ action, as we are now less than a month away from a Brazilian jiu-jitsu tournament that will result in the largest cash prizes any BJJ competition in the gi has ever produced: the World Professional Jiu Jitsu Cup, under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mohamad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Over $111,000 is on the line in this event in the United Arab Emirates, which is open to any competitor!
But if you’re a black belt and considering jumping on a plane to the UAE in hopes of making some quick cash, you may wish to reconsider based on some of the names who are already confirmed to participate:
- Marcelo Garcia (Alliance)
- Braulio Estima (Gracie Barra)
- Rubens “Cobrinha” Charles (Alliance)
- Robson Moura (Nova Uniao)
Yes, you read it correctly: BJJ fan favorite Marcelo Garcia is returning to competition in the gi! It is amazing how significant prize money will cause would-be MMA fighters to throw the gi back on and hit the mats! If only there was this sort of incentive on a more regular basis.
Do not get the wrong idea, however – the competition is open to competitors of any belt rank. Here is how the prize money for each division breaks down across the belts:
Black Belts, Brown Belts, and Purple Belt first place winners: $7,000
Black Belts, Brown Belts, and Purple Belt second place winners: $3,000
Black Belts, Brown Belts, and Purple Belt third place winners: $1,000
Blue and White Belt first place winners: $2,500
Blue and White Belt second place winners: $1,000
Blue and White Belt third place winners: (no prize)
As you can see this event is indeed the first of its kind. Based on the main source of information for the event, there does appear to still be time to register if you can make it to the UAE. Even if you do not win one of the generous cash prizes above, you will certainly come home with a very enviable story. How many of us get to travel to the Arab world? Not only that, how many of us get to travel to the Arab world and enjoy our favorite thing: jiu-jitsu!