Can people call you a “sandbagger” if you’re a blue belt with wrestling experience who qualifies for a top-tier grappling tournament and defeats some of the world’s top black belts to earn silver, all before you’ve hit the two-year mark for your jiu-jitsu training?
I’m asking for Nick Rodriguez. Because, no, that wasn’t a dream — he really did do that over the weekend at ADCC. But if you answered “yes” to that question, the following news should ease your troubled mind: he was promoted to purple belt by coach Jay Regalbuto while on the podium after receiving his silver medal.
The promotion might not seem like a lot for a guy who just beat Mahamed Aly, Orlando Sanchez, and Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu (and gave +99kg champ Kaynan Duarte a serious run for his money), but the alternative is skipping over it entirely and giving a brown or black belt to a guy with less than two years’ worth of jiu-jitsu. And for those still ready to call Rodriguez a sandbagger, don’t worry — after this weekend, he’s probably not going to be competing in your local tournament.