A good rivalry is one of the best ways to gain fan interest. All sports have them and combat sports is certainly no exception. Boxing, wrestling and MMA have shown some great examples, and many epic rematches have come into play as a result. In jiu-jitsu, there has been a rematch more than 10 years in the making, the one between Eddie Bravo and Royler Gracie. Let's get a little background information before we get to the meat & potatoes of this feature.
In 2003, at the famed Abu Dhabi Submission Wrestling Championship, Bravo-who was only a brown belt at the time-submitted Royler with a triangle choke. If ever there was a feather to pin to one's cap, that one was made of solid gold. Eddie would go on to great success with his 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu schools that are scattered across the globe, he would write several books, put out instructional videos, make music and have many more life achievements that are too numerous to list.
Royler, now a seventh degree black belt, has also had a distinguished and highly decorated 20 year career on the tournament circuit. He too has seen great success with the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu schools, has written books, and also holds a 5-5-1 record in MMA.
The rematch between these two has been highly anticipated and talked about for years, but never managed to make it past the talking stages until recently. Finally, jiu-jitsu fans will get to see them duel once again on the mat in just a few weeks at the third Metamoris event on March 29.
In a recent interview with Bloody Elbow, Bravo discussed how the match, after so many rumored bookings, is just now coming to fruition and gives casual fans an easy fact guide to Metamoris. Here's what he had to say:
How the rematch finally came to be
I think it was money. I think he got offered quite a bit of money, and finally decided to make it happen. You know, Metamoris has become about as prestigious an event as you can get. The production value is great, it's submission only, there are super fights; it really doesn't get much bigger than Metamoris.
Ralek (Gracie) offered us both the fight on the first Metamoris card, but he (Royler) declined. He wanted too much money, according to Ralek. I think after that first show, which ended up being epic, Royler probably thought to himself, ‘Hey, let's do it. Let's make it happen.' I'm not sure how much he's getting paid, but I do know it's a lot for a grappling match.
It's also going to pump up his career. We're headlining, so all of the sudden, he's back in the limelight. It will be a boon to his school, his overall business, the security of his family and all that stuff.
Chances for a rematch in the gi
There's not much of a chance of a rematch happening in the gi, if any. I haven't trained in the gi regularly in over 10 years. Who knows? I doubt it though.
Eddie Bravo's Metamoris facts for the casual fan
- First, people should know that it's not a tournament. It's a card of super fights.
- It's a submission only event. There are no points or advantages.
- Metamoris participants are requested by invite only. There's no qualifiers or anything like that.
- Ralek Gracie is the Dana White of Metamoris. He puts it all together. He's the matchmaker. He runs it. There are some people that work with him, but he's the one calling the shots. He pretty much seeks out the best grapplers on the planet and pits them against each other.
- There aren't tiered prizes. Purses are agreed upon when contracts are signed. Everyone is getting paid cash and they're getting paid more than they've ever gotten for a jiu-jitsu match. That's guaranteed.
- There are no titles, belts, medals or ribbons. These matches are strictly for money and bragging rights.
- Each match is 20 minutes long. If there is no submission during the allotted time, the match is considered a draw. The whole dynamic of the match is changed when it's submission only. It's much more exciting knowing that the opponents are going for a finish the whole time. For an MMA fan that doesn't do jiu-jitsu, it's much easier to follow. In traditional tournaments, the casual fan has no idea how the point system works. It gets even more complicated when every tournament has a different setup.
- There are no judges. They tried judges for the second show, to determine a winner in the case of a draw, but that was a disaster. Now, there are no judges. The match ends one of two ways, a submission or a draw.
- The only way jiu-jitsu will hit the mainstream is if it's submission only. It's a fairly new format that's growing and growing.
- Kenny Florian is going to be the play by play guy and Jeff Glover is going to do color commentary.
- Tickets to the live event have already sold out. The only way you can see Metamoris is by purchasing the stream.
The guard in MMA
That's what I've constantly been working on. It's been the biggest hole in jiu-jitsu, which is why we dropped the gi 10 years ago. We focused on that glaring weakness, the bottom game. There's a huge difference in bottom game with the gi and without it, especially when you add strikes to the mix.
There are so many BJJ blackbelts in MMA, but submissions from the bottom are very rare. We, as a community, should focus on making the bottom game more effective and dangerous.
Most dangerous guard in MMA
Jim Miller is the first person that comes to mind when I think of a current fighter with a sick guard. Vinny Magalhaes is another. Nobody wants to be in that guy's guard. Nobody. There are a few guys out there that have looked specifically into making their guard offensive and more effective. They approach it like a scientist with an equation to solve. It's sad that there are like 40 blackbelts in the UFC and only one or two are known for being dangerous and really offensive off their backs.
Worldwide, there a few others. Shinya Aoki...nobody wants to be in his guard. People avoid it because it's so dangerous. Paul Sass is another one. He pulls guard and if you follow him down, it's over. He has an exceptional guard. Anybody that says the guard is dead, how come it's not dead for Sass? Going into that dude's guard is suicide.
I have 45 schools worldwide. I can barely keep up with those, so if we just stayed here, that would be beautiful. I certainly won't turn down people that want to jump in on the 10th Planet army, though. I will just have to figure out how to delegate responsibility. Where I'm at now, with 45 schools, I can handle this. I have an awesome group of head instructors, and things are going very well. I'm very happy with where everything is at now. I pinch myself every day. I remind myself daily what a lucky guy I am.
You can follow Eddie via his Twitter account, @EddieBravo