Both the east and west coasts of the United States are powerful epicenters of the modern grappling world, but as a result, many areas in middle America are overlooked by BJJ fans, according to jiu-jitsu blue belt and Texas native Ryan McGuire. A new Houston-based tournament premiering next month hopes to draw attention to the often ignored Lone Star State. Enter: 3rdCoast Grappling Championship.
“You’ve got the west coast, and then there’s the east coast. We here in Houston like to call ourselves the third coast,” McGuire said. 3rd Coast Grappling co-founder and marketing professional by trade, McGuire and his team saw a need in their community for high-level BJJ competition in the same vein as the world famous KASAI tournaments.
“We just really wanted to bring fun and exciting grappling to southeast Texas,” McGuire said.
Featuring both gi and no-gi matches, 3CG incorporates a variation of the traditional IBJJF rule set with a few new stipulations. Match duration is dependent on rank, with black belts going for ten-minute rounds and lower belts going for seven. The first fighter to either score eleven points or earn a submission wins, but points will not be awarded for advantages. A yellow card will be issued to either or both competitors for stalling, and a standup reset will occur upon a second card. A third stalling violation results in a red card, requiring the competitor to forfeit 20 percent of their prize money. In overtime, the first competitor to score points or submit their opponent within five minutes wins. A coin-flip decides which competitor will choose between either starting position or top/bottom. The other competitor will choose whichever preference their opponent did not specify.
“We started 3rd Coast Grappling under the premise that we were tired of seeing a lot of these events going on ending in draws,” McGuire said. “So when we were forming this rule set, the first thing we wanted was to push the action and encourage finishes, and for not just the hardcore fans, but new casual ones to tune in and go, ‘Hey, this is pretty exciting!’” McGuire said a big inspiration for his team was the old Gracie challenge videos circulating on YouTube.
Matches announced so far include Cicero Costha black belt Manuel Ribamar vs Gracie Barra’s Hunter Newton in the gi, Jacob Allphin vs Ken Alfaro, Roberto Jimenez Jr. vs Diego Almeida in no-gi, Christian Guzman vs Jordan Holy in no-gi, Efrain Rodriguez vs Roberto Rivas in the gi, Michel Sarausa vs Angelus McFarlane in the gi, and Roberto Perez vs UFC light heavyweight Justin Ledet in no-gi.
3rd Coast Grappling is also working alongside the We Defy Foundation for veteran outreach and fundraising. We Defy provides disabled military veterans with free access to BJJ instruction as well as equipment. “[We Defy] has been really helping us on the back end, and the fact that they provide soldiers like myself the chance to train jiu-jitsu is really important,” McGuire said. McGuire and 3rd Coast CFO Zachary Marshal are both US Army veterans and have dedicated a portion of the tournament earnings to the foundation.
The event will be held Saturday, January 12 at 8:00 PM in the Scout Bar. Tickets are available here. The event will also be available for streaming on FloGrappling.com. More updates on the event as well as background information can be found on the 3CG Facebook page and website.