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Report: BJJ promotion that featured Rumble vs. Blaydes sumo bout unable to pay athletes

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BJJ start up Substars put on a huge show last month, but it looks like things have turned sour.

event poster

Promoting takes skill. When Substars, a relatively new promotion, announced a blockbuster card featuring ADCC champions and UFC fighters some people in the BJJ community were skeptical. Submission grappling is a notoriously difficult sport for promoters to turn a profit and all the major players either stream through UFC Fight Pass or Flograppling. Substars decided to stream via pay-per-view and it looks like they didn’t sell as many as they hoped.

According to a report from, soon after the show, the promoter made athletes aware that ticket sales and pay-per-view numbers were tracking far lower than anticipated and that the organization would not be able to pay the athletes.

The original main event was set to be Garry Tonon vs. Dustin Poirier but Tonon withdrew due to a cut. Gordon Ryan was bumped up to main event and announced that he would be giving his PPV cut to charity, but unfortunately it looks like he won’t be receiving any of the income from the event.

MMA stars Curtis Blaydes and Anthony Rumble Johnson appeared in sumo matches on the card. Former Bellator champion Rafael Lovato Jr is also among those not to receive any payment.