As you probably know by now, Eddie Bravo has recently signed a deal with the UFC to have his grappling tournament, the Eddie Bravo Invitational, streamed on the UFC’s online network, Fight Pass. EBI 6 will also be able to be purchased on Dish pay-per-view, or iN Demand pay-per-view. Although I was a little distraught that I wouldn’t be able to order the event via Budovideos, I realized that this is a really good thing for grappling. MMA fans are the next group to go after. MMA fans will have an easier time transitioning than fans of other sports. No, I’m not saying that every MMA fan will automatically become a grappling fan, but the jump is far shorter for them than for a fan of football or soccer.
Not only are more people being exposed to grappling, but the UFC name is being attached to it. This gives the sport more legitimacy than the online streams that have been going on prior to this. I’ve written about professionalizing the sport, and this could be the beginning of that. Bigger payouts shouldn’t be too far behind. In fact, this payout is bigger than previous EBI tournaments. Competitors can earn up to $50,000, which is more than twice as much as the previous tournaments have been worth. EBI was the perfect promotion to choose for this opportunity. No disrespect to any of the other promotions out there, but EBI has been able to put out consistently exciting cards with a high amount of star power. First time viewers will be able to follow the matches much easier because of the submission only rules. There are also no draws, which is another thing that is great about EBI.
This is a great opportunity for the grappling community. There is still a long way to go, but having a grappling promotion linked with the UFC is an excellent start. This will open the sport up to more viewers and engage more and more people in the fantastic sport of submission grappling.