Erberth Santos’ recent fight versus Felipe Pena drew widespread and highly publicized coverage for all the wrong reasons. What was supposed to be an interesting fight between two high-level competitors turned into an all-out brawl where following a stoppage Santos was allegedly accused of faking an injury, causing him to spring to his feet and catapult towards the sidelines, attacking Pena’s corner. Viewers note that the actions took on an MMA feel, casting it in a similar light as Khabib Nurmagomedov’s brawl with Conor McGregor.
Given recent events, we must question how far jiu-jitsu has truly come from its grittier beginnings. The societal expectations of how we are to responsibly represent ourselves as human beings in aligning with the art continues to grow as the sport evolves. We still see isolated incidences of this nature that diminish the public perception of what we stand for as martial artists.
Gracie University Instructor Zac Cunningham explores the topic in more detail, reiterating that the preservation of the culture of jiu-jitsu as the gentle art is a collective responsibility amongst all jiu-jitsu practitioners, particularly those competing at the highest levels of the sport.