Robert Zeps (left) with Ralek Gracie at today’s press conference in San Diego.
A press conference was held today in San Diego for tomorrow’s Metamoris Pro jiu-jitsu event. The event features six matches between some of the most exciting Brazilian jiu-jitsu athletes in a submission only format with 20 minute time limits.
In mid-September here on the FightWorks Podcast we spoke with Metamoris organizer Ralek Gracie about the event. When we had the opportunity to learn more about his fellow organizer Robert Zeps, we pounced!
The FightWorks Podcast: We know a lot about Ralek Gracie. But we know less about you, sir. Could you introduce yourself?
Robert Zeps: Yeah sure, my name is Robert Zeps. I’m British. I came to San Diego about fifteen years ago, seventeen years ago thereabouts. I was a martial artist from the old school, doing jiu-jitsu. The Japanese jiu-jitsu. I did karate, I did aikido, and then about five years ago I ran into a gentleman back there [points to back of room], my very good friend and instructor Nelson Monteiro who squeezed the life out of me in about five seconds, and changed my life in many ways. I got into jiu-jitsu and involved in doing it. I then became very good friends with the Gracie Academy, with Ralek, and with Ryron. The funny part was Ralek and I would do the occasional private once a week or once every two weeks. We just started talking abotu points in jiu-jitsu. As an older guy it’s really tough for me to play that game. I don’t like to when I spar. When these little kids grab me and say, “two points!” that really drives me nuts. So we talked about the evolution of sport jiu-jitsu from the way Helio Gracie did it, the way all the great champions from Brazil did it. We thought we might organize something that would do what everybody wants to see, which is no points and just submissions. Clearly we can’t do it with no time frame, because what happens when a fight goes three and a half hours. What are we going to do? Tell everybody to wait?… Twenty minutes seems like a reasonable period. We can see all our fights get done in a reasonable amount of time. Then it was a question of who we wanted to see fight. Quite honestly it was more about who Ralek and I wanted to see fight instead of what should be out there. It was really just a matter of if you could choose any fighters, put them together and see them fight right now, who would it be? I’m fortunate enough that I could speak with Ralek and say, “Ralek you have the connections and you can make this happen”. I am fortunate enough to make this happen financially. Hopefully, if the event is a success – and I understand that the first events are a little more… expensive – then after that you learn and hopefully the jiu-jitsu world is really impressed with what we do. And not just the jiu-jitsu world but the ones who sponsor events, would want to see another event like this occur. We’d love to see a Metamoris 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 but clearly it has to be a financial success at some point. Not necessarily right at the beginning.