What’s the Difference Between ADCC and World Professional Jiu-Jitsu?

I was going to include this post inside another one, but I figure this question will come up enough that it’s probably going to be referenced in the future and deserves its own post. So, for starters, you can check out Kid Peligro’s answer to this common question. Below is whatever insight I might be able to add.


What is commonly referred to as the ADCC Championship is a submission grappling event that happens every two years and began in 1998, probably way before you ever stepped on the mats. A Gracie Barra instructor here in San Diego named Nelson Monteiro had a student who turned out to be a member of the royal family in the United Arab Emirates, a country with a total population of just under 5 million people. That student’s name is Sheik Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nayan, and these days he probably does not spend too much time dealing directly with learning new submissions as he has some pretty important responsibilities back in the UAE. In any case he is still a patron of submission grappling and the events continue to run every two years.

The name ADCC represents “Abu Dhabi Combat Club” which is a physical training center in – you guessed it – Abu Dhabi, one of two major cities in the UAE. (The other is Dubai).

In the earliest years of the ADCC, you had to receive an invitation to compete. Nowadays you can still receive an invite which usually includes an offer of travel and accommodation but the ADCC holds qualifiers around the world so anyone should have the opportunity to compete in the event. There is even one such qualifier scheduled to take place here in San Diego next weekend.

The prizes for winning the ADCC are the largest I am aware of in the world of Brazilian jiu-jitsu and submission grappling. For example, the winner of the male absolute division (no weight restrictions there) earns $40,000! While the women’s divisions are not equally rewarded, it’s safe to say that in this respect the ADCC has done much to motivate and compensate submission grapplers around the world.

The last edition of the ADCC World Championships were held in Barcelona, Spain in 2009 and the finals of the 2011 edition is said to be in Nottingham, England. This is, perhaps not coincidentally, virtually home territory for the 2009 ADCC absolute champion Braulio Estima and his brother Victor.

You can learn more about the beginnings of the ADCC here in our audio interview with Nelson Monteiro.

World Professional Jiu-Jitsu

World Professional Jiu-Jitsu is a separate organization than the one responsible for ADCC. World Professional Jiu-Jitsu’s benefactor is a different member of the Emirati royal family Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan.

World Professional Jiu-Jitsu has only been around two or three years. Originally it began as a competition where you had to wear the gi, but this year it has begun offering no-gi divisions as well.

One term you may have heard in the last couple of years is Abu Dhabi Pro. What’s that you ask? Abu Dhabi Pro is a company ran by Fernando Paradeda that is responsible for carrying out some of the World Professional Jiu-Jitsu trials around the world. You can hear him discuss the effort in an earlier conversation with us here on The FightWorks Podcast earlier this year.

In Closing…

ADCC World Professional Jiu-Jitsu
Geographic Origin Abu Dhabi, UAE Abu Dhabi, UAE
Patron Sheik Tahnoon Sheik Mohammed
Gi? No-gi? Just No-gi Gi and no-gi
Frequency Every two years Annually
Big Prize Money? Yes Yes
Rules Used Special ADCC rules IBJJF rules
Equal Prize Money / Opportunity for Women? Significant room for improvement Significant room for improvement
How Lucky Are We to Have the
Sheik’s Patronage?
Extremely Extremely
Representative Audio Interview #182 with Braulio Estima from October 2009 #208 with Hillary Williams from April 2010

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