On the weekend of the IBJJF No-Gi World Championships, here in the DFW area intrepid competitors grappled at a much smaller venue with a lot more at stake. While competitors in California fought for world domination competitors in Argyle, Texas fought for the quality of life of millions of people. Liberty Christian’s donated gymnasium was host to the first Dom Nation Fight for a Cause BJJ Championships where all proceeds went to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. While the Fight for a Cause was a small tournament lacking the quantity and quality of competition of the bigger tourneys, it serves as a model for what I believe is sorely lacking in the BJJ and submission grappling world: affordable tournaments free from politics.
Wrestlers and judoka have long enjoyed a number of tournaments under $60, yet it is very difficult to find any BJJ or submission grappling tournaments where you can compete in more than division for under $100 (Fight to Win and Paul Halme’s tournaments are the only ones that come immediately to mind). While many BJJ practitioners do not mind paying $120 for a large tournament offering plenty of quality competition, I see no reason these tournaments have to be expensive. They use a local venue, local referees and make very good money off of local competitors that they immediately take back to their home town. While I am a big fan of the free market, these promoters do nothing that can’t be done for a fraction of the price once you remove big profits from the equation. All sorts of politics are usually involved in local tournaments. Black belts and gym owners do not want to see money going to other guys, especially with all the inter-gymnasium grudges that exist in any given locale.
That’s why I believe this weekend’s Fight for a Cause, if replicated, could change the BJJ competition landscape for the better. When a deserving charity makes all the money there is no reason everyone shouldn’t support it. Venue, medals and advertising could all be donated (for altruistic or tax purposes). With all these capital expenses out of the way entry fees can remain affordable, workers can be paid well and even cash prizes for the pro divisions can be offered, allowing all competitors and parents of competitors to leave feeling happy and fulfilled, win or lose. Happy competitors lead to bigger and better competitions. Bigger, better more affordable competitions lead to more BJJ practitioners, which lead to more income for the entire local BJJ community. So, while Dom Nation’s Fight for a Cause was not nearly as big or glamorous as the No-Gi Worlds, I think affordable local competitions like it are far more important to the local north Texas BJJ community. Hopefully, next time you won’t have to choose between the two.
|Written by Seth A. Fuller (FullerMMATime.com)
|Monday, 08 November 2010 10:49