The world of Brazilian jiu-jitsu is currently trying to figure out the best way to handle what happens when BJJ competitors who fight under the same flag are the only two remaining competitors in a division at a jiu-jitsu tournament. Last month the editor in chief of GracieMag, a respected media source in the world of jiu-jitsu, asked for a change so that competitors from the same camps must fight each other so that there be no more “gentleman’s agreements”, the term used to describe when two competitors agree between themselves who will go home with the gold and silver medals. Later Gracie Barra’s Flavio Almeida responded with a contrary opinion, essentially stating that competitors have a right to put their team before their own individual results, and if teammates close out the brackets that they should be allowed to do so.
Here on The FightWorks Podcast.com, we asked our readers and listeners their opinions, and the results reveal the extent of the conflicting opinions in the BJJ community: 54% believed jiu-jitsu teammates should be able to close out the brackets however they decide, and 46% voted that the two must compete to decide who is the best.
This weekend the inaugural World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Cup is being held in the United Arab Emirates. Carlao Santos, the organizer of the Cup, made his stance clear, stating that teammates would indeed have to face each other:
“We can’t risk not having finals,” claims Carlao, justifying his case: Abu Dhabi Sport TV, the main network in the region, is promoting the event with a number of advertisements, and will broadcast live all the final fights.”
In a video posted on YouTube, Ze Marcelo, a referee at the IPJJF’s World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Cup agrees, saying “I do believe you have to push the guys to fight. One hundred percent. If the guys go to the final and there is prize money, it doesn’t matter what they do with the money afterwards, they have to fight and see who was the best.”