Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Vale Tudo legend Rickson Gracie is partnering with a new MMA organization in Brazil, y’all, and he’s putting his own unique stamp on the format and rules. Some are new ideas, many are ones tried before and at least one is just kinda weird.
Our friends over at GracieMag have the full story on the new Mestre do Combate, debuting November 22nd. Below we have some of the highlights.
Teams - Rickson’s organization will use a team format of some sort, akin to what the now defunct IFL used.
Rounds - There will just be two, like in the old Pride non title bouts. The first round will be ten minutes and the second will be five.
Cannot be saved by the bell - So this is interesting. “Fighters will not have the luxury of being saved by the bell: if a submission hold is in place when the bell sounds, they will have to defend or tap out first for the fight to end,” GracieMag reports. What do you think of this rule, nation? I think its a compelling idea, even if it could lead to some messy and uneven arbitrary implementation.
“Judges’” decision - Speaking of potentially messy and arbitrary, “in the event of a fight ending without a submission or knockout, the decision-making system is a curious one: the referee ‘Big’ John McCarthy has one vote, Master Rickson has another, and the audience watching at the venue or over television has a tie-breaking vote.”
Ok, so let us linger on this one for a moment. Being partial to everything Rickson, I don’t have a fundamental problem with him serving in a judging capacity for MMA fights. The guy knows what he’s looking at and he’s certainly more qualified than most current MMA judges. However, his exact role with the organization has not really been publicly specified and there could be issues there. Is he a promoter? Is he a part owner? Is he both? In either case, I’m not sure how I feel about a promoter or organization executive deciding who has won fights, because they could easily be compelled, even if subconsciously, to vote for the more marketable fighter since that fighter might make them more money.
Also, what are the criteria that Rickson, McCarthy and the fans are supposed to use to judge? Oh yeah, having the ref score a fight is a horrible and dangerous idea.
From conversations I’ve had with top refs in the past, I’m rather surprised that McCarthy would even agree to doing this. From what I understand, refs have their hands full just making sure fighters are safe and keeping to the time and rules. If McCarthy is to cast a judging vote to a fight he has just refereed it certainly seems like he’d then have to either
A.) Divert some of his attention from rule enforcement and safety to thinking about who is winning, or
B.) Keep his full attention focused on safety in the ring, in which case he’d probably not have a great idea of who won the fight immediately after.
How, exactly, will fans vote? Will it be a majority thing and they all have two buttons attached to their seats so they can choose who they thought won? Or will it be like a college open mic night where applause is used to determine the winner. In which case, will there be a decibel meter to determine who, exactly, received the louder applause or will some person decide who had more support? If the latter, who will that person be? [Ed. Note: Possibly via text message voting, but who actually takes part in text message voting at stadiums? Other than me that one time fans were asked which ethnic stereotype will run around Miller Park in a sausage costume fastest, for obvious reasons. Don't judge me.]
Weight - So yeah, Mestre do Combate will have same day weigh ins. The idea is to discourage harmful weight cutting by fighters and to encourage to fight at their natural weights. Love the concept, hope it works. Amateur wrestlers have to weigh in the same day as competition and they still cut a lot of water weight often times.
Elbows - No elbows. Sorry, that sucks. A real Jiu Jitsu practitioner needs to ultimately learn how to deal with the different range and angles that elbow strikes pose on the feet and on the ground. At least professional MMA fighters should learn how to.
I’ll definitely be watching this event in November. I love anytime someone new enters the space. It allows for more opportunities for fighters. Let’s see how all these rules play out. What’s your prediction, ‘taters?
Technical bouts, messy albatross or something in between?