BJJ Poll: Do You Think the Average Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Tournament Referee is Biased?


People get very emotional about Brazilian jiu-jitsu. It is natural when you care about something so much. Anyone who has been to a Brazilian jiu-jitsu tournament can attest to how passionate the crowd is. Everyone has someone they are rooting for out there on the mats. Even if you don’t know one of the competitors, maybe you want one or the other to win because it affects your team’s chances for success that day.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu referees are just like the rest of us: they have friends on multiple BJJ teams, and they likely have trained with someone who knows someone in the match they are watching over. But by definition a referee is supposed to be absolutely neutral in their work. They can show no preference to one BJJ competitor over the other.

What do you think? In your experience is the average BJJ referee biased or neutral? Don’t base your response on one bad experience!

Thanks to RG, one of the Mighty 600,000 for suggesting this week’s poll!

BJJ Tournament
Alliance’s Fernando Soluco does not agree with the referee’s decision in his match against Gracie Humaita’s Rafael Lovato Jr at the 2009 BJJ World Championship.

6 thoughts on “BJJ Poll: Do You Think the Average Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Tournament Referee is Biased?”

  1. I really would like to see more information on advantage points. I think it would make it better if every referee gave the same advantage points. Also it would be great to have a referees council, or a group of referees to draw up a rule book for all events and for god sakes can we agree on a scoring system for our sport? We have seen every possible type of scoring let’s use the best one and draw up one constant rule book!

  2. I have seen some pretty lopsided calls before that I would attest to a biased ref, but as a whole I would say that most refs try to be fair.

  3. At first I thought you were talking about BJJ in MMA, and I was going to say MMA is biased towards strikers.A striker doesn’t do his job, and he gets taken down, and the BJJ guy worked so hard to get his position but isn’t moving fast enough for the ref, they stand them up, and the striker gets another chance to swing at the bjj guy.

  4. All our team knows that when our coach refs a match that we are in and at the end of a match if it is a draw, he will always give the decision to the other player. I don’t think that this is a perfect system, but at least it shows no favoritism, and we all know we have to perform to get the win.

  5. My son’s competed in maybe 15 local/regional tournaments (Copa Nova, NAGA, US Grappling) plus a number of in-house tournaments and my observation is that the refs really try their best to be neutral. Sometimes, as with advantage points (as noted by Bruce) there tends to be a bit of vagueness. Sometimes refs do make bad calls, and sometimes you can tell one of them might be inexperienced. Overall, though, I’ve been quite impressed by the quality of the reffing and their attempts to do a good job.

  6. I haven’t competed or reffed in BJJ, but I was a ref in other sports and I can say on the whole refs try their best to be fair. There are a few refs in every sport who play favorites and are biased, but most of the time the perceived bias is the result of either the ref, or competitor or both not fully understanding the rules or immaturity on the part of the competitor.

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