If you follow the sport of competition grappling, you know that as of the past five years, the super fight invitational has been the pinnacle of the game. Pitting world class competitors against unknowns as well as against competitors in other weight classes has provided for an entertaining and exciting outlet for fans to gawk at.
The biggest of the promotions to offer these kinds of events are Fight To Win Pro and the Eddie Bravo Invitational, which boasts its own highly respected rule set. As is bound to happen with these sorts of concepts, the EBI rule set has been adopted by other aspiring organizations. One such organization is Global Grappling League, whose super-fight shows are run by Sam Micale.
Micale has an event coming up this weekend featuring competitors of national and international acclaim. The card features matchups between various competitors from all over the western hemisphere and will prove to be a truly special event.
I had an opportunity to sit down with Sam and learn about Global Grappling League.
The event kind of came out of nowhere. Ryan Ciotoli [Owner of Ultimate Athletics and head coach of the esteemed mma team, Team Bombsquad] decided he wanted to start another grappling promotion alongside his already successful MMA promotion, Gladius Fights.
He has a lot of experience running grappling and wrestling tourneys out of Ithaca, Cortland, and Syracuse in the past, so this was nothing new to him. He decided since there were no prominent local grappling tourneys, now would be a good time to start one, hoping it would also be beneficial to his MMA promotion.
He knew that the sub-only scene was growing in popularity and that I competed in and was a part of that community, so he asked me if I was interested in organizing and operating the Sub-Only Invitational. Obviously, I said yeah, as I saw this as a great opportunity to surround myself in what I love and meet some great and talented people in the process. Plus I welcome a new challenge with open arms.
With some pretty awesome support from a couple local businesses along with some great bjj apparel companies, plus my business experience and love and passion for jiu-jitsu, I think the Global Grappling League Sub-Only Invitational has endless potential. I could see it as one day being a stepping stone to the big league (EBI).
Sam’s goals are lofty but he has already experienced quite a bit of success insofar as attracting top level talent to his promotion. I was interested to learn a bit about who Sam felt were his highest level competitors on this upcoming card.
Ethan Crelinsten for obvious reasons. The kid is on fire, winning the ADCC west coast trials (beating our 145 lb champ and teammate of his, Nicky Ryan, in the semi finals) right after I announced him being in the tourney only helped. He has a VERY bright future and learns from arguably 2 of the best instructors in their respective games right now, the great Professor John Danaher and Firas Zahabi, and is a training partner to the likes of Garry Tonon, Oliver Taza, Nicky Ryan, and Eddie Cummings.
Alexandre De Silva is a veteran black belt pro mma fighter with 20+ pro fights and an outstanding record from Sao Paulo, Brazil. It will be cool seeing that kind of high level talent in this type of tournament setting.
John Battle is making a name for himself in the sub-only scene. He has had some super tough matches and only competes in the highest form of competition now.
Josh Sapinoso is a dark horse in this tourney but I feel may surprise some people. He is one of the 10th Planet Freaks from San Diego under Eddie Bravo black belt Richie “The Boogeyman” Martinez, and jumped at the opportunity to travel cross country and compete in this high level competition.
Mike Davila, being an EBI veteran and game competitor at the highest level is also another obvious favorite.
Crelinsten was on the winning side of a now viral video of a Kimura at the ADCC. If you are not faint of heart, look it up.
Unlike some of the other promotions in the game, Sam and Global Grappling League are less interested in spicing things up by setting themselves apart, and more interested in doing what others are doing, but doing it really well.
In all honesty, we’re not even really trying to be all that different. I love what is happening in the jiu jitsu world right now with the sub-only scene and just want to keep the ball rolling. In that sense, I plan on learning as we go and changing things up to suit the competitors. I just want them all to have another vehicle to greatness, it’s not about the money or anything at all, and it really can’t be with this sort of thing, because there isn’t money in it in the first place. I just really love jiu-jitsu.
Tomorrow’s Global Grappling League event will offer fans a glimpse at the burgeoning future of this sport. Some of the best prospects will be facing off under the EBI rule set, and very likely fans will be able to see future stars of the sport showcase their abilities.
Shout out to Josh Hayden for coming up for the seminar, Eddie Bravo for really kicking this movement off right with EBI, and all the sponsors for supporting the event and making it possible. Link to the stream is www.globalgrapplingleague.com