The IBJJF recently announced the return of their heavyweight 8 man Grand Prix competition for 2019. This is the second installment of the tournament. Once again they are targeting the top talent in the sport for the event.
So far they have confirmed Marcus “Buchecha” Almedia, Gordon Ryan, Lucas Barbosa, and Leandro Lo in what is an already stellar lineup. Each one of the competitors named so far is capable of winning the top prize of $40k. The inclusion of Gordon Ryan makes things very interesting.
The grand prix event is unlike any other IBJJF events for a number of reasons. First of all the prize money on offer is significantly higher than any other IBJJF event. Secondly the IBJJF do not typically run standalone events for grapplers. They usually specialize in
The IBJJF choosing to run this style of event seems to be in direct response to the shifting grappling event landscape that we have seen in recent years. Grappling promotions such as EBI, Polaris, Kasai, Quintet, ACB, and WSOG have all established their own brand and have managed to attract the best fighters in every weight class.
These events typically dominate the social media feeds of BJJ fans and it has led many people to openly question the relevance of the IBBJF in the modern sport. Most notable of these criticisms came form the 2019 IBJJF world champion Mahamed Aly after he took home the top $20K prize at a WSOG tournament.
These events also often use rule formats that are designed to ensure exciting matches and finishes. In comparison the IBJJF have consistently been criticized for the lack of offense and submissions at their events. The points system often leads to stalling and tactical battles which see very little action. Another problem the IBJJF have is that many competitors choose to close out brackets with teammates. This means that fans are often deprived of a final. Large gyms such as ATOS often have a number of the top competitors in each bracket which makes the occurrence of this situation all too frequent.
Despite the changing landscape there is no doubt that the major IBJJF tournaments are still considered to be the most prestigious in the sport of grappling along with the ADCC and UAEJJF world Pro. The addition of another installment of this Grand Prix event is further confirmation that IBBJF are taking note of the changes to professional Jiu-Jitsu and that they want to remain at the front of the pack,