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Arnold Gracie World Championships

    Sun, 2004-09-05 08:28 — Scotty

    I think I speak for everyone when I say that we are fed up with it.

    I think I speak for everyone when I say that we are fed up with it. Grappling is the love of our lives. We live it everyday. We do it because we love it not because we can make money off it. We are tired of the mistreatment and lack of respect that we as students, fighters, and customers deserve. There is a lot of pressure on me to tell my side of what happened this weekend. There was just too much going on to figure it all out. Here is what I think. This was a huge event and a lot of work went in to getting it done. A lot of people worked really hard: the volunteers, the referees, the ring workers, and the promoters. It was an incredibly long three days and for some longer where almost no one slept. There was a tension behind this event from the beginning, which built up the entire weekend. Everyone there was over worked. The event was huge there was a line of spectators out the doors, across the room, down the stairs and filling up the lobby. There were hundreds of people wanting to get in. The exposure for the sport was phenomenal. I spoke to many people about our sport that were not at the Arnold`s for Jiu Jitsu. A lot of Judo guys stopped in. Sylvester Stallone &. Randy Couture made star-studded appearances that energized the crowd. Sunday, sometime in the afternoon there was the turning point. The first few people that really started get to upset was because they had to leave before they got to fight. This was due to some rescheduling of fights. People were angry and the staff was hearing a lot of flack. Most of us were working 15 to 20 hour days for 2 days straight with out any real good food. I was really feeling it. There were so many small problems happening that in the end the place blew up. The root of the problem I think is we do not have a large enough pool of referees to support the growth of our sport. We need more referrers and they need to be well-trained referees. I only saw 2 of them at the rules meet and one giving the rules meeting. I went to 2 rules meetings and in one I got to be the training dummy. Garth gave the rules meetings and did an excellent job, he answered every question and I felt I had a good understanding. There were some very experienced referees there from Brazil. Language barriers proved to be a big problem. I was on the mat taking pictures and did a lot of translating for fighters, referees and table workers. The rules were very different from the CBJJ rules and the Abu Dhabi rules. Very few people took the time to go to the rules meeting. Some of the rules left many people at the rules meeting shocked. They were very different but there were good explanations for the changes. Most people did not like them. Unfortunately those that took the time to learn were penalized for it. Early in the event when everyone was fresh excited the referees were doing a good job. Then as the time drug out the rules got murky. The tension was compounded by the fact no one in the crowd and many coaches had no idea what the rules were so they were getting fired up and angry not understanding calls. The referees were taking a huge beating the crowd was very vocal the whole weekend. Being on the mat was stressful. The tournament rules were not well understood by anyone. Unfortunately the person who suffered most from a lack of understanding of rules was the least deserving. Biz & Oxidal`s owner took a giant step forward for our sport by being one of the first ever-major corporate sponsor an American event has ever had. The Biz & Oxidal challenges were the highlight of the event. It was the peek excitement of the whole event on both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday was a huge success everyone was raving about it. The arena was so packed that I couldn`t get even get in. But everyone was excited about it and Sunday was really hyped up. On Sunday I made sure that I was mat side for the challenge it started out awesome. Everyone was cheering, then at some point something changed and it was no longer funny. An illegal hold was placed on the participants face and he was hurt. There was blood on the mat and his face was really beat up. What could have been a fun display of the technical art, jiu jitsu being done by the world`s best fighter instead became a brutal beating of a fan. It was made clear in every rule meeting that the move was illegal because it could hurt someone. There was so much going on and it was all bearing down on the event promoters. A lot of time and patience was used in trying to problem solve. Everyone was trying to keep the pace moving because there were a lot of fights to get through and the event stared very late. This I am sure due to the fact that we all went bed at 4 am on Friday night and no one wanted to get out of bed that cold morning at 6:30. am. The event staff was awesome. They worked unbeliever hours and really held together till the end. A lot of people volunteered. Thank you all for trying your best and keeping your cool. Things were out of the staff and volunteers` control and with the pace of the event people were only told what to do not the reasoning behind it. Many people were upset with changes, delays and many other incidents. Often the staff didn`t know why changes were made and could not get or were not given any answers. This often left them with only one answer to many questions, "because Cooper or Relson said so". The event had a few other delays including the celebrity drop ins. There were not too many to injuries. The rules were structured to keep people from getting hurt. Most of the time all six mats were running during the day as it got later the people working all day got tired. The pace didn`t slow till after the Pro Division finally blew up late at night. The amateur divisions were huge. Some guys had 8 fights. There was a huge group of talented women fighting. There were too many awesome competitors to even mention them all. The pro division had some amazing fights. But, confusion and lack of consistency created a lot of disagreements and match after match people were getting angry. In many cases people who took the time to learn the new rules were penalized because the standard jiu jitsu rules were being implemented. This of course caused lead to clash after clash till in the end it blew up. When the rule changing got out of control. All though the promoters of this event had the best intentions and worked extremely hard they failed in many of the same ways they have in the years that passed. Many of the problems that occurred at the event the prompters were warned about a head of time but either ignorance or stubbornness stood in the way of trying to solve them. Experienced promoters offered their help and solutions but they were ignored. The event was still amazing in many ways. It was a huge exposure for the sport. Most of what the new fans saw was great. There were some very embarrassing parts that have blemished the sport. But, I think it will do more good in the long run. It was a monumental up taking and the promoters did not have the experience to properly be prepared for it. And, ignored advance warnings from many. There are some apologies owed. Changes have to be made and the sport needs to grow from this. I`d like to apologize to anyone there that I upset. It was four long days and nights of working with not much food. By then end it had become a three-ring circus, very tiring and it left me delirious. Everyone there was feeling it. In the end a lot of people lost their cool. To all the girls in the pro division you are owed a huge apology. You were very disrespected. I believe you are owed another event for free. The fact that you paid a lot of money to be treated poorly and ridiculed makes me ashamed and embarrassed. Especially the international competitors please come back and fight again. This is not the norm. To the 16 year old girl who was not allow to fight due to her weight, I am very sorry. Thank you for being more adult about it than the adults. You are very good and the people that were so mean to you were just jealous. People are like that. You deserve a refund. To the guys who fought in the Biz and Oxydal challenge thanks for a great show. To the guy that got hurt I am sorry about what happened. I hope you heal soon. You are owed some apologies. I know you had fun and you did great and are happy to have won $1000. To the CEO of Biz and Oxydal we all thank you for your support and we will show you that we are loyal. Please continue to support us and we will support you. I think you have the grappling bug. Right now we are experiencing growing pains, so come grow with us. To all the sponsors thank you for backing the sport`s growth. To the entire staff thank you for working so well together. Please help us out again as you are all very experienced in running a major event now. There were many mistakes that can be fixed your input and advice was very valuable to me. To the Combat Do team you were all wonderful. Thank you for working the entire event in to the late night both nights. It could not have been done with out you. To my friends that came, thank you all so much. You were all a big help. Thanks for the support. To everyone who has been calling and emailing, Thanks for your support. To the fans and the fighters that came to the event thanks for coming. Try to understand a lot of people worked as hard as they could to make this the best event they could. It was really hard work and long hours. They put tens of thousands of dollars in back in to our sport. Some people acted very poorly under the stress of the event. The lack of consistency & preparation proved to be what cause the failures. The people who acted unsportsmanlike like need to make amends and do something that gives back the fans and fighters. There were some crazy & embarrassing actions that were shocking to us all. We want a sport not a soap opera. Please do not do it again, especially in front of thousands of fans. The promoters need to make some apologies and retribution to the community I think as well.

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