Buchecha vs. Roger 2 sounds cool, as long as Buchecha receives his purse up front. While BJJ die-hards might tune in despite, the luke-warm (I am being diplomatic) feelings about Metamoris and its founder Ralek Gracie, it likely won’t move the needle to draw the attention of most BJJ fans and media. There is really only one fight at this point that will give Metamoris any chance of winning back the good will of the fans and get the polarizing professional grappling promotion back on the road to be a credible and financially viable brand.
Garry Tonon vs. Kron Gracie 2
Eddie Bravo declared the rivals’ 2013 ADCC match in Beijing, China as the greatest Jiu-Jitsu match he ever witnessed. The back-and-forth match up between the then unknown Tonon and the son of Rickson Gracie was an instant classic with both men holding dominant positions over each other during the course of their match. Gracie took Tonon’s back early in the match and secured a fully-cinched arm bar that Tonon somehow escaped. However, in ADCC rules, there is no scoring in the first five-minutes, so the match was still 0-0 on the scoreboard.
In the scoring phase of the match, Tonon scored three points by taking Gracie’s back and controlling Gracie on the ground. In the last two minutes, with Tonon ahead on points and en route for a huge upset, he continued to push the pace instead of playing conservatively and securing the win. Gracie found an opening when Tonon attempted a leg lock and a scramble ensued. Gracie took Tonon’s back and locked in a rear naked choke on the edge of the mats in the closing seconds of the match. Tonon tapped and Gracie survived to advance and win ADCC.
So much has changed since 2013. At the time of their match in ADCC, Tonon had just graduated from college and was still in the early stages of developing his current game and training full-time. In the span of the nearly three years since their encounter, Tonon has received his black belt, won three EBI titles, made two appearances on Metamoris and has become one of the biggest American stars in BJJ. Kron spent his time defeating Shinya Aoki at Metamoris 2 and transitioning to MMA by training with the Cesar Gracie team and winning his first two professional MMA fights in Japan.
While Kron Gracie is committed to training and competing in MMA, he might be enticed to return to competitive BJJ for the right price and to help his cousin Ralek. The two cousins are on friendly terms and have posted photos of the two hanging out together on social media. Kron’s one-time return to BJJ to face Tonon would keep him active in-between MMA fights in Japan, serve as a huge favor to Ralek and go a long way in rebuilding Metamoris’s reputation with the fans and drive PPV sales.
While Kron is family, getting Tonon on board will prove to be more challenging. While the hook of getting a second shot at Kron Gracie would draw Tonon’s interest, it might not be enough for him to return to Metamoris. Ralek has burnt bridges with Tonon after exclusive contract talks broke down prior to EBI 3. The issue is further complicated by friends and people in Tonon’s network not being compensated for their appearances and work at Metamoris related events. In order to get Tonon to compete at Metamoris, even against Kron, Ralek will likely need to mend fences with Tonon, pay his purse upfront, and compensate his friends who haven’t been paid by Gracie.
This match isn’t easy to make by any means. It involves Ralek convincing a talented, yet free-spirit cousin to come back as a favor to save his business and rebuilding a burnt-down-bridge with the most popular American grappler and his friends. The work on Ralek’s part will be burdensome and stressful, but the results will do wonders in rebuilding his reputation and making Metamoris a major event again.