Fight to Win Pro is back on tour, and tonight in Sacramento, they’ll be kicking off the year with a landmark match on the card.
Tyler Brey will be competing against Ryan Jennerjohn in a match that is bound to be exciting based on the skill levels of the athletes alone. But this match is particularly significant because Brey is the first para athlete to be featured on a Fight to Win card.
Brey was born with spina bifida and a fighting spirit. He wrestled all the way from 7th grade to his first year of college, starting jiu-jitsu in 2007 to complement his wrestling skills. He soon fell in love with BJJ, and although he has since stopped wrestling, his jiu-jitsu career has taken off. Brey won Gracie Regionals and Nationals as a blue and purple belt, also taking home silver and bronze at the BJJ American Cup and U.S. Open at those belt levels. Since earning his brown belt under Cassio Werneck, he’s won a super fight at the Submission Pro Tour Elite Series.
Brey’s accomplishments don’t stop there, though. He’s also a member of the US paralympic powerlifting national, world, and Pan-Am teams and is an independent personal trainer in Roseville, California. Taking home a win on the F2W stage would certainly be another impressive achievement to add to his resume.
“It’s a huge honor for me to be the first para jiu jitsu athlete to compete on the Fight to Win stage!” says Brey. “I fully intend on winning tonight, but more than anything, I want to represent jiu-jitsu well. This sport can be adapted to anyone regardless of your limitations and abilities. If you are determined and stubborn enough to stick around long term, you will eventually figure out a style that works for you.”
Brey’s opponent, Ryan Jennerjohn, was one of “at least twenty people” who was offered the matchup, according to F2W promoter Seth Daniels… and the only one who agreed to take it. Jennerjohn himself isn’t para, but in a couple of weeks, F2W Pro 60 in Reno, Nevada will see two para athletes (Brian Freeman and David Tallent) compete against each other for the first time on the big stage.
Daniels has said that he hopes these matches will be the first of many that will give para grapplers the chance to compete on F2W cards. ” I want to give everyone the opportunity to showcase their skills and encourage others with disabilities to get into the sport.”
Regardless of the result of Brey vs. Jennerjohn, Brey hopes that his performance tonight has an impact that goes beyond a raised hand at the end of the match. “My biggest goal in jiu-jitsu is to be remembered as someone who changed the sport. Someone who showed a new way of looking at techniques and strategies that could be used even at the highest levels… someone who inspired others to try things that the world said they couldn’t do and inspired others to never give up when discouragement sets in.”
Watch this match and many more when F2W Pro 58 begins streaming live on FloGrappling tonight at 6:00 PM Pacific time!