The Jiu-Jitsu Community Responds To The IBJJF’s Suspension Of BJJ Globetrotters

If you managed to escape the internet yesterday, you may have returned to find a lot of people on social media very, very upset with the IBJJF. The reasoning behind it is most likely the organization’s decision to suspend the BJJ Globetrotters affiliation. You can read the letter reportedly sent to BJJ Globetrotters founder Christian Graugart below, and you can catch up on other relevant details here.

Unsurprisingly, there are a lot of people who are very, very upset with this decision. There are over 750 academies registered as Globetrotters affiliates, and over 20,000 people are a part of the Globetrotters Facebook group that allows members from all over the world to connect and train together. The massive and sudden increase in web traffic crashed the BJJ Globetrotters website. And now, the IBJJF is facing widespread backlash.

Because the internet is hectic, here’s a summary of what’s been going on since the news broke.

People swarmed the IBJJF’s Facebook page and began leaving “Do not recommend” reviews, adding comments that make it clear that their displeasure is due to the handling of the BJJ Globetrotters situation. The sudden increase in activity set off Facebook’s alarm bells, and the social media site has temporarily stopped the page from being able to receive reviews. At the time of this post’s publication, though, the negative reviews had already brought the IBJJF’s rating down from a 4.6 to a 3.4.

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And of course, because this is the internet, there were jokes, memes, and Wikipedia edits. Someone(s) made a few snarky amendments to the IBJJF’s Wikipedia page, highlighting the Globetrotter-banning scandal in the second introduction paragraph. At the time of this post’s publication, the first sentence of the page currently reads, “The International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) is a FOR-PROFIT company that coerces people pay outlandish fees for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournaments and certificates around the world.”  The edits also list the IBJJF’s “purpose” as “make money,” and “Timmy” (the now infamous first name signed at the bottom of the letter Graugart received) is listed as being the IBJJF’s so-called “cult leader.”

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The decision has also caused an uproar on the r/BJJ subreddit, prompting multiple posts on the subject including a long, critical post from u/BenjaminWestrich titled “The Business Side of the Hurt Business.” The entire post on Reddit is worth the read, but the first paragraph alone is a scathing commentary on the IBJJF’s actions:

“I usually just lurk here, however…

This weekend the IBJJF has made it undeniably clear that they do not deserve their self-proclaimed role as leaders of the BJJ community and guardians of standards in training. Their actions over time, culminating with the removal of hundreds of members from a specific organization in the last few days, should show the community what has been plain for some time: The IBJJF is not here for the sport, they are here for money.”

BJJ black belt and Pineapple Invitational founder Dan Lukehart also shared some insightful commentary about the situation:

Bjj Globetrotters ban:I am not a fan of having to verify my students rank. It’s a pain. It’s a pain to get my own…

Posted by Dan Lukehart on Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Jason Scully of Grapplers Guide has also offered his help to Globetrotter athletes who have already paid to compete at an upcoming IBJJF event, with Graugart’s blessing:

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“Hey everyone who is a part of the BJJ Globetrotters…if you need help competing in an upcoming IBJJF competition that you already paid for, paid for flights, hotel, and travel I will help you if you need it. I know a lot of people who registered for Pans and other competitions
You can register under the Grapplers Guide. Please send a message to staff@grapplersguide.com with the following information:

  • Name
  • Rank
  • Coach
  • Academy and Website
  • What Tournament You Are Competing In Soon
  • PLEASE: Have a fully filled out attached form sent as well to make the process much easier to complete.

I spoke to Christian Graugart about this before posting this and he asked me to post it up here.I don’t want to see people get beat on competing and lose money as well.I will try to get your forms back to you as soon as possible. Right now I’m the only athlete registered under the Grapplers Guide so I guess give me some company lol.

Worth noting is that Graugart hasn’t openly encouraged Globetrotters to “not recommend” the IBJJF on Facebook or engage in shenanigans like editing the organization’s Wikipedia page. His request in the initial post he shared about the situation still stands, which is to send an email to ibjjf@ibjjf.com to voice your opinion.

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