We're just hours away from Metamoris 3, the popular, submission-only grappling event, and I'm already antsy for it to begin. The anticipatory mood that I'm feeling is shared by many BJJ fans because we are finally being treated to the biggest rematch of our era, Eddie Bravo vs Royler Gracie.
While it's been more than 10 years in the making, it certainly wasn't for lack of promoter efforts. This match has been talked about and almost booked at one point, but fell through a few days after the talks began. Now, it's finally going to happen.
It is the crown jewel atop a card of superfights that features the world's best jiu-jitsu players. Any match on this card could be a headliner, but Metamoris decided to pack them all together for one epic event. This is not your standard tournament. It's submission only, so the less entertaining aspects of tournament style jiu-jitsu has been removed (advantages, points).
I recently spoke to the man that runs the show, the creative genius behind Metamoris, Ralek Gracie. Gracie discussed some of the changes made from event to event, and some future moves for the promotion. Here's what he had to say:
Bringing In Judges For Metamoris 2
Yeah, we got really excited after the first event. It was a lesson learned. You know how people say, ‘If it's not broken, don't fix it'? That was our mistake. We didn't realize how unbroken it was. We w ere working so hard to build the perfect event with perfect rules. We had put so much thought into it, that we couldn't slow down the vehicle. It was just moving too fast. We wanted to keep doing something, and we ended up overdoing it.
I thought we'd have to go more mainstream to be successful. I wanted to create a way for there to be winners in the event of a draw. I fell for the lure of excitement, and thinking that it wasn't exciting enough the way it was in the first event. I've come to realize, especially after that second event, that what was so cool about it, is that there were no judges. When we factored them into the event, they just essentially became another point system.
If you compare the first event to the second one, you'll see that the second was just an IBJJF tournament with 20 minute time limits, where the first event was pure freedom. For us to get this figured out so early on is a powerful thing. We made our mistake. We got it out of the way. Now we can move on with great events the fans can enjoy.
I would like to see a Roger Gracie and Buchecha rematch. Buchecha got the best of Roger in that match, but most people don't know that Roger was on antibiotics the week leading up to it. He was recovering from a really bad staph infection, and it affected his performance, cardio...everything. I wouldn't have gone in there after being on antibiotics for a week. That's just too much. He's a warrior though, and I feel like he didn't really get to display what a top level athlete he is in that match.
I would also like to get Marcelo Garcia in for a match. It seems like he's headed towards retirement, but it would be awesome if we could get him in there to showcase his talent. I think people would really relish seeing him in the Metamoris experience. It would really be one of those dream matches, regardless of who he was taking on. For a jiu-jitsu enthusiast, that's Disneyland.
Style vs. Style Matches
We would definitely be interested in that, but I think we'd still need those other styles to have a base in jiu-jitsu because that's what Metamoris is, a jiu-jitsu promotion. I haven't put too much energy in that direction, because to be honest, I'm really focused on jiu-jitsu as the core experience for us. The landscape is growing, and I think that's important for our community. I don't want to bring in all these people from other styles just for fun. It's not about showing which style is better, it's about who's the best in jiu-jitsu.
We're definitely not bringing Brendan back any time soon. It would take a lot at this point for us to consider it. The biggest problem for me with Brendan is that his approach to me personally, was way more aggressive than what I saw in his match. The way he projected himself and the way he expressed that he was going to attack the match. I was disappointed on a personal level, but we already talked about that, so it's done.
On a business level, his performance was...he was technically within the rules, and there was nothing I could do about that. He played the system. He was very, very, very patient. He was basically afraid in a lot of ways and scared of the different attacks. This was our second event, and he, like many of the others, didn't want to fall behind with the judges. He felt outclassed, and it was obvious. Now that we've gone back to the system with no judges, there's really no point for that kind of performance, ever.
Brendan is a good athlete and a solid MMA fighter. He's a cool person as far as his overall personality and his energy. If he would have come in and told me, ‘Ralek, I'm going to just defend and avoid the attacks until I find one little moment where I can try to maybe do something crazy', I would have told him, ‘Hey man, maybe you should wait another 5 years.'
MMA Fighters In Metamoris Events
I won't let this experience stop me from putting another MMA fighter on a card, though. I appreciate the fact that a lot of fighters take jiu-jitsu very seriously. They know the value of a good jiu-jitsu game, and in my eyes, they're part of the club. Of course it helps because there's name recognition and all that energy associated with other promotions. It's awesome. I do think matching them up against another MMA fighter makes more sense than matching them with a top of the heap jiu-jitsu player. You want to create an exciting match-up without setting up someone out of their league as an opponent.
The Most Challenging Aspect of Running Metamoris
The most challenging thing for me, is trying to please too many people. You have to stay true to what jiu-jitsu needs and what is important for it to grow. In that process, sometimes people don't necessarily line up with that goal. Sometimes, things aren't meant to be, and getting to that realization can be a process. You just have to focus your energy into what's best for jiu-jitsu.
You can follow Ralek Gracie via his Twitter account, @RalekGracie