I received a phone call from FightWorks Podcast cohost Dan yesterday morning from the airport in Northern Virginia as he waited to board the plane for a 14 hour ride to Beijing. Why in the world is Dan heading to Beijing?
The Chinese mixed martial arts promoter Art of War contacted The FightWorks Podcast headquarters recently and offered to bring one of us to cover their MMA event this weekend, which is being generously funded by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed al Nahyan, who also recently funded the World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Cup in Abu Dhabi.
I have obligations and am not able to attend, but Dan said he was up for it and realized that in addition to covering the event (which is flying in some serious star power from MMA to attend), we could also take the opportunity to document how Brazilian jiu-jitsu is progressing in China. As an added bonus Rickson Gracie, Royce Gracie, and Renzo Gracie will be in attendance. Dan mentioned Royler Gracie going as well but I haven’t confirmed that. So there will be no shortage of Brazilian jiu-jitsu content waiting to be captured too.
So I want to be candid in stating that Dan’s travel and hotel room were paid for by the promoters. We are very conscious of the conflict of interest that is present whenever a promoter makes it possible to cover their event when financial constraints prevent us from doing so on our own. Rest assured we will do what we can to prevent coverage from being affected. I know there may be some in the Mighty 600,000 saying, “Who cares if Dan’s trip was paid for by them? It’s not like this is international affairs! It’s an MMA event!” I understand that sentiment but when it comes to our journalistic integrity here on the show I play things pretty conservatively.
In any case the plan is for Dan to bring back some audio and photos of the Art of War event this weekend that will likely be covered in Episode 157 of The FightWorks Podcast. [This coming Sunday’s show (#156) is already finished! More on that tomorrow!]