The Abu Dhabi Combat Club’s 2011 Submission Wrestling World Championships went down this past weekend in Nottingham, England. The two day event, held every two years, traditionally is considered the highest level grappling event in the world and names the best grappler. This year’s event went down with considerably less hype, and with considerably lesser names involved, but it was spectacular none the less.
Andre Galvao, a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu expert from Brazil who has dabbled in MMA was the big winner, sweeping both his weight class and the Absolute division.
What is unusual is that the Sheik from Abu Dhabi that has sponsored this tournament from it’s inception in 1998 is the same man who made news in the recent past by buying a ten percent interest in the UFC, reportedly for 100 million dollars.
The UFC did an event in Abu Dhabi shortly after, and there was a great deal of internet chatter about how UFC fighters would compete in the ADCC tourneys and how it was going to explode. None of that happened.
What happened instead is probably the least publicized and hyped ADCC event of all time. None of the mainstream websites that cover MMA, such as Sherdog or MMAJUNKIE have results or any coverage. In fact, even the ADCC’s own website doesn’t have results up yet, a full 24 hours after the event.
There were absolutely no UFC fighters in the tournaments either, and absolutely zero cohesion in promotion with what is supposedly now a co owned company.
What did happen is that most of the best grapplers in the world that are not under a UFC contract showed up, and most of them are Brazilians.
The only fighter to win a division that wasn’t a Brazilian was American Dean Lister, who hasn’t competed for a while but has tasted success at ADCC before. Other than that, every division, both man and woman, was won by a Brazilian competitor.
I believe that this brings Marcelo Garcia’s title at the ADCC to four, as he won his weight class. This may be the finest grappler we have had a chance to see ever, of all time, period.
But something happened here. No one under a Zuffa or Strikeforce or Bellator contract competed, and it served to water down the competition. Not even the competition, but the attention it got which is virtually zero.
Georges St Pierre has competed in ADCC before. So has Rodrigo Noguiera. And Vitor Belfort. Tito Ortiz did it, so did Matt Hughes. Roy Nelson, Roger Gracie, the list goes on and on.
And what would a guy like Brock Lesnar do under grappling rules? Or BJ Penn?
The fact that the UFC locked out everyone they had under contract was not what was hoped for. The bottom line is the tournament crowned the best grapplers in the world with the asterix that UFC fighters were excluded.