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Rickson Gracie’s New MMA Organization Has Some Interesting Rule Changes

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?

- Elias Cepeda

Cagepotato Comments

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MMAposeur- October 23, 2012 at 9:22 am
So of course, no saved by the bell means, if a combatant is mounted and getting pounded on, no stopping until he either breaks out or is unconscious right? Or if a fighter is in the middle of combo, no stopping him until the combo is over?

How freaking stupid.
Sarcry- October 22, 2012 at 4:59 am
I think the vote from the audience is not a good idea. Of course the audience is going to vote for their favored fighter whether he obviously lost, especially hometown fighters.
crappiefloper- October 21, 2012 at 2:44 pm
Teams- it is Brazil. All ready some strong bjj rivalries, might as well capitalize on that
Weight- bout time
No elbows- sucks. Should allow head buts as well
Ref judge- uhhh,NO
Rounds-shouldnt be any. Time limit,sure.rounds,nope
Saved by bell- Great idea. Why not,since it is Brazil after all, set up a format that favors submissions over the UFC favored striking?
Cornerman- October 21, 2012 at 1:09 pm
Well I'm the cornerman and I should get a vote so...
macreadysshack- October 21, 2012 at 12:19 pm
Wait, aren't most shows dominated by locals? So, wouldn't the local kid be at a ridiculous advantage, or is Hiksen thinking everybody will be impartial. Because, yeah, that always works so well. This sounds more like a bunch of bad ideas that are going to cook into a colossal mis-adventure than just 'a good idea with a couple questionable ones'. The problem is that the uber-ultra champion of this organization would have an even worse chance of even being competitive in the UFC. Can you imagine Dana pulling one of the guys that is successful in here into the UFC with ELBOWS and less ridiculous weight toward submissions (so much so that there is a whole rule allowing them to continue past the clock)? There are a few things that fighters should be able to count on going into a fight and THE FUCKING REF and THE FUCKING CLOCK and THE FUCKING JUDGES are WAY up there. 'Interesting' rule-changes? I'll wait while you rethink that statement.
cman- October 20, 2012 at 9:15 pm
So basically a Gracie is trying to move MMA back to BJJ rather than the wresting that has doninated pure BJJ practicioners for years? Color me shocked..... more so that there is a clock.
Ref judging is horrible, no elbows sucks, Teams? so more top guys not fighting each other? will there be trades??
Pretty much ponly thing i like is the same day weigh ins.
coolsnow7- October 20, 2012 at 4:58 pm
This looks,tome, like a big elaborate attempt to set up an MMA competition where submission grapplers will have a substantial advantage. First of all, no elbows? Seriously? Second of all, suppose you're Keith Jardine being pounded on by Rampage (granted that was in round 3, but suppose it was round 1) why do you get to be saved by the bell then, but not if someone might or might not have a guillotine? Third of all, obviously the 10 minute round is there to let grapplers wear down strikers and then hit the submission. Finally, the whole notion of Rickson having his finger on the button to decide that someone who got outstruck but "almost got that kimura" won the fight, strikes me as incredibly slimy.

Speaking for myself, I've always leave any discussion about the Gracies or their activities with a bad taste in my mouth. From the founding of the UFC to their various coaching endeavors to their blatant self-promotion at every juncture, the family seems far, far more interested in maintaining their brand and the myth of supernatural powers granted by jiu-jitsu than in advancing the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. To me, this looks like just another concrete example of how they're always incredibly slimy.
beef_kurtains- October 20, 2012 at 3:21 pm
A gracie bending the rules to suit their tastes...I'm fucking shocked by that! Why break form?
GrandShamrock- October 20, 2012 at 3:08 pm
I like the no save by the bell rule, I mean, BJ should have won that first fight against Jens, and that second fight against Hughes. Time limits are great to finish fights when fighters aren't able to do so, but why stop a fight when a fighter is seconds away from submitting the opponent? All that work for nothing. Why make John judge? Why not go directly asking to the fighters involved who won, and get a lie detector attached to them, to determine whether they are telling the honest true or a lie. It makes the same sense.
Mr_Misanthropy- October 20, 2012 at 2:58 pm
The team format was stupid in the IFL.

If The crowd and Rickson both give the losing fighter thumbs down does he get impaled with a trident?
mma4ever- October 20, 2012 at 2:05 pm
I think he shoud have stayed were ever the fuck he went all these years
twistedvision- October 20, 2012 at 1:25 pm
I like it all except the rounds I think they should stick to the3, 5 minute rounds....also no elbows dum tis..
Pen Fifteen- October 20, 2012 at 1:24 pm
I don't see what the point is in putting this much effort into a promotion that will invariably be nothing more than a minor league sideshow. Rules don't make for interesting fights, the caliber of athlete does, and unless Rickson has got backers willing to shell out for top talent, who cares? In that sense, XArm and Shockfights were better ideas than this; at least they attempted to create a novel appeal.

And the referee scoring idea is horrible. The potential for conflict of interest could not be more clear.
Fried Taco- October 20, 2012 at 1:23 pm
Rickson will ask the crowd, "Obviously fighter X won, but what do you think?" And anyone giving the wrong answer will be immediately raccooned.