Tag Archive: BJJ


I just published a well-received story for ItsOnVillage about the decline of mixed martial arts within the GTA. I wanted to quickly address some of the points that were brought up after publication.

First, it is truly a great thing that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is affording bigger and better opportunities for its elite athletes. I want to note how BJJ wiz Braulio Estima only fought 1x in MMA in 2012 and then walked away. He does not need to be in the UFC. Robert Drysdale also had a good argument for why most BJJ black belts teaching jiu-jitsu are better off than the average MMA fighter.

Claude Patrick demonstrates technique

This is not saying that BJJ competitors cannot or will not transition to MMA. Look at Rafael Lovato Jr., who is 8-0 in MMA. Garry Tonnon is 2-0, having only just gotten his MMA career started this year. Tom DeBlass finished his MMA career at 9-2. All great BJJ guys who made a strong transition to MMA.

Second, I am not suggesting that qualified MMA coaches don’t exist in the GTA. Just that there are not as many qualified instructors as needed to build enough pro fighters. Remember–fighters are still learning, training and growing all the time in the city. But just not in big enough numbers for there to be breakout stars who originate here.

Good coaches do exist, but they can only work with the talent they have. And if their fighters can only get 1-2 fights per year, plus need to travel out-of-province, etc., then the constraints against their prospects are even harder to surmount.

Pro MMA fighters in other places like Montreal or Calgary likely still have numerous challenges. But if there are more shows happening out there, then the coaches have an easier job building momentum so there are legit opportunities to learn by doing (only way it happens).

Finally, if someone or a group of people with deep pockets arrive on the scene, they could potentially change things. Or not. Promoters have tried to make Ontario a profitable venture and failed time and time again. The Ontario Athletic Commission must scale back regulations that cause costly overhead, first and foremost. Until enough lobbying achieves this, any finger-pointing or criticism at promoters or investors themselves is moot.

This is all just my take. I do hope that MMA in the GTA becomes more sustainable for all involved. But at the same time, the UFC has achieved what it set out to do: prove which styles of martial arts are useful. Now that we have that information, we must use it for ourselves.

 

 

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One gym I enjoy being a part of is TorontoBJJ. Of late, I made a couple video interviews with my teammates Gabe Sagman and Jon-Taine Hall. Gabe was scheduled to have his third pro fight on May 30 in Burlington, but he had to pull out due to injury.

I shot a lot of video of Gabe and his brother Reuben for a documentary short that I plan to release before Gabe’s next fight, which is tentatively scheduled for late October.

As for Jon-Taine, he is a jiu-jitsu phenom who faced an elite Olympic wrestler at Hard Knocks 44 in Calgary, Alberta on June 26. It was a real struggle for Jon-Taine to find opponents, so he stepped it up and took a really challenging match. He ended up losing a decision, but I believe he will come back much stronger next time around.

I give full credit to both Gabe and Jon-Taine for the commitment they’ve shown to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu throughout the years. Both are brown belts and both proudly fight under the TorontoBJJ banner. Of course, there’s much more to come and I look forward to watching their journeys unfold from the best vantage point in the house.