Last weekend’s ACB JJ event was packed with some of the biggest names in jiu-jitsu, but some people felt like the matches weren’t necessarily exciting enough given the talent that was on the stage. And ACB JJ president Zaurbek Khasiev was among them.
In an Instagram post on Sunday, Khasiev expressed his sentiments on the recent ACB events, saying:
With the experience in organizing BJJ events i have discovered that most of the MMA fighters make much more entertaining scrambles than most of our BJJ fighters. I have been saying for awhile now that i don’t like them fighters giving up the entertainment of combat to get the win by the points. If things keep going this way we will probably no longer cooperate with most of our BJJ athletes and will no longer make BJJ super fights, instead we will concentrate on open BJJ tournaments. No one is interested in watching two guys hugging each other for 15-25 minutes without even attempting to spice up the battle or submit their opponent. BJJ will never gain new fans if the show is so boring.”
Gordon Ryan seemed to take Khasiev’s side, bringing up some discussion points between the differences between professional and amateur athletes and the type of performance expected from them:
Our beloved boss @zaurbek_khasiev is displeased with the lack of submissions and level of stalling in recent @acb_jj events. What we must understand is that we are PROFESSIONAL athletes. Theres a difference between being a professional athlete and an amateur athlete. When you're focussing on winning worlds in the gi all you have to focus on is winning because its an amateur event. Ibjjf isnt paying you to win and they won't lose money if noone is interested in watching you lay on top of each other for every match after scoring an advantage. @acb_jj on the other hand has given athletes a platform to compete consistently for real money. When you become a professional athlete you now have 2 jobs. You have to not only focus on winning but also focus on being entertaining. Focus on being someone people will pay to watch. If noone wants to watch you because you're boring then companies cant justify paying you. Whether you're exciting on or off the mat you need to be exciting in some way. That's why connor McGregor is the highest payed fighter ever. Hes both exciting inside AND outside of the cage. Most high level jiu jitsu athletes have the personality of a card board box and dont do **** after scoring 2 points. For the 1st time we are beginning to be paid like real athletes. And its OUR job not just to win. BUT TO WIN IN AN EXCITING WAY THAT PEOPLE WANT TO WATCH. If we cant do this then jiu jitsu will just end up like wrestling.
EBI founder Eddie Bravo then reposted what Kasiev had written, expressing his thoughts and then extending an offer of his own:
“This is a very old problem. The problem is not the competitors, it’s the point system. The EBI format was designed to solve this problem. Try 1 show with EBI rules and EBI OT and see what happens. We can collaborate. It would be an honor to work with you. Respect 🙏”
Could an EBI/ACB collaboration be in the future? Only time will tell.