Reflecting on Metamoris Pro

Metamoris Pro

It’s past 2am, and I’m awake thinking about this coming Sunday’s Metamoris Pro event. Here’s what’s been on my mind.

What a Great Time to Be a Jiu-Jitsu Fan!

We are at a very early stage in the rise of jiu-jitsu. Yes, it’s never been as popular as it is now. Yes, there are 3,000 competitors alone at the IBJJF Pans, and they break that record every year. But few jiu-jitsu athletes, if any, can say they make a living by competing in BJJ, the way athletes in other sports do. The FightWorks Podcast cohost Dan has said it before: “How awesome is it that right now if I really want, I can not only meet my favorite jiu-jitsu star in person, but I can go train with them? I can go ask for a private lesson and get it! What a luxury!”

He’s right. And if jiu-jitsu keeps growing, it will not always be that way. The withdrawal from everyday society is already happening in MMA athletes. We are at a real sweet spot in jiu-jitsu history.

And the events we’ve been begging for – where our favorite athletes get money for what they do – are becoming more common. The ADCCs and more recently, Abu Dhabi Pro have been a rare (and welcome!) reward for our athletes. Metamoris Pro is offering serious money to athletes this weekend, and the IBJJF event in December will too.

Expect hiccups.

This is the very first time Metamoris has put together any event and there are a lot of moving parts behind the scenes. All sorts of things can go wrong including but not limited to:

  • Technical difficulties in the online stream. Hey things happen. Cables, network connectivity, operator error, bandwidth, and more can all conspire to cause bumpy viewing for people who are remote.
  • Athletes are… athletes. Sporadic and sometimes unpredictable behavior is the norm. (There’s probably a reason none of these guys work in an office!) Will they be late to the arena? Any last minute training injuries?
  • Event timing. The event could go as long as 2 hours if all six matches go the distance. But what if the majority end quickly? It’s entirely possible. US Grappling’s been running submission only tournaments for years, and according to their data the average length of a sub only match is 8 minutes. If these Metamoris matches are about 8 minutes each, that’s makes the entire event over in under an hour and a half. Would the fans feel like they got their money’s worth?

Even with the best people money can buy putting the event together, there’s opportunity for unwelcome stuff to happen, and that is probably more likely in first efforts by the promoter than in later efforts.

A press conference at a jiu-jitsu event?

There was a formal press conference at the 2011 ADCC in Nottingham (about a dozen videos of Budo Jake and I doing interviews there are found on this BudoVideos Youtube playlist), so we can’t say it’s never happened before. But to my knowledge Metamoris is the first jiu-jitsu event where there will be formal time slots where the competitors will be seated in front of a press gallery answering questions.

You know those highlights you see on ESPN of New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady, or the Miami Heat’s Lebron James seated at a table with a bottle of water in front of a backdrop plastered with logos and facing cameras clicking, lights glaring, and reporters interrogating? Now switch out those multi-millionaire stars and put Caio Terra in that chair. Something like this is actually happening today in downtown San Diego.

And don’t think it will only be a bit awkward for the athletes! The jiu-jitsu media (myself included) is not accustomed to such ritual! “A formal, quiet, scheduled opportunity for the media to get together and ask questions to the stars of jiu-jitsu? You mean I don’t have to stalk the competitor and accost them the first sweaty chance I get as they walk off the mats, with the tournament loudspeaker blaring right next to us?” This is really how we think.

If You Asked Me What You Should Do…

If you’re not in San Diego… you should consider buying the event so you can watch it online. If you feel like the $20 price tag is too much, split it with a friend or two. It’s not that much money and how many other times will this opportunity present itself?

If you’re here in San Diego… well we think it’s going to be an historic event. Attend. In the worst-case (and very unlikely) scenario that the event is a disappointment, at least you got to hang out with fellow BJJ crazies and watch jiu-jitsu. Unlike most such occasions, you’re simply there to watch and enjoy. No running in the parking lot trying to cut weight before weigh ins. Just come watch some elite jiu-jitsu.

On that note, since 2008 we’ve been getting together with FightWorks Podcast listeners (the Mighty 600,000!) before big events to nerd out about jiu-jitsu. We talk, we eat, we drink, but mostly we enjoy talking about BJJ with others who speak the same language and are as passionate about it as we are.

The other day on Facebook were asked if we were going to get together before Metamoris and that’s a terrific idea. So you are now formally invited! If you are going to be in San Diego for the event and are not tied up already at the ADCC North America trials, please come hang out to talk about Metamoris with us. Details are here. The only condition is that if you show up, you gotta say hi to me!

Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy Torrance California
At least three Gracie family members from the Gracie Academy in Torrance that you see in this picture will have a formal role in Metamoris Pro this weekend. Can you name which ones, and what their roles are going to be?

2 thoughts on “Reflecting on Metamoris Pro”

  1. Over on twitter we received this question from Fhduff:

    I’ve must have missed it in the write-up but what make this different from other past pro events like Budo and Grappling X?

    To that, I respond: this is why it’s bad to write articles at 2am. You forget a lot of things that deserve mention.

    Some similarities:

    • Both Rickson Gracie’s Budo Challenge (2005) and the Professional Submission League (2006) were admirable attempts to bring big names under one roof.
    • Both had rules that differ from the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation rules.
    • Xande Ribeiro and Rafael Lovato Jr both competed at the Budo Challenge.
    • Jeff Glover, Rafael Lovato Jr, Kron Gracie, and Xande Ribeiro competed at the Professional Submission League.
    • Shawn Williams, who co-commentates with me at the BudoVideos live broadcasts of jiu-jitsu events was a commentator at the Budo Challenge, and a referee at the PSL events. How does this guy do it? Is it the hair?!?

    What’s different:

    • This event is submission only. As long as the match doesn’t go the 20 minute distance, we’re going to find out straight up whose jiu-jitsu is better that day. That’s a departure from previous professional, invite-only offerings we’ve seen in the past and it appears to have fans very excited about this event.

    What I hope is different and we don’t know yet:

    • We hope the conditions are right that will allow Metamoris to continue to put on events. Maybe the PSL and Budo Challenge were ahead of their time and the market wasn’t ready, or management was an issue but we haven’t heard anything from them in some time. Metamoris organizer Ralek Gracie told us that Metamoris already has committed to putting on another event after this one, no matter how successful this first event is, so we’ll see.
    • I hope no Metamoris athletes bite their opponent’s fingers like that Japanese guy did to Lovato in the Budo Challenge!
  2. From left to right:
    Rener Gracie: shoutcaster
    Reylan Gracie: NA
    Rorion Gracie: VIP guest
    Ralek Gracie: promoter
    Ryron Gracie: competitor

    Go Ryron !! =D

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