A couple of days ago I was chatting with Jiu-Jitsu Times owner, Kitt Canaria, and we came to a disagreement. I made the outlandish claim that I’d rather get paid to compete, and that an EBI title holds as much, if not more, long term value than an IBJJF Gi World’s title. Kitt strongly disagreed. I feel that this is an interesting topic to explore.
First, I’ll present Kitt’s well-thought-out argument to the best of my ability:
The argument is that an IBJJF World champions in the gi, while they don’t make any money winning that title, can write their own ticket to any gym, both as an instructor and as as a seminar teacher. IBJJF Gi World champs can put out DVD’s that will generate more interest than similar DVD’s from any EBI champion. Moreover, the difficulty and thus the prestige involved in attaining this title is infinitely higher than the EBI belt.
My thoughts on the matter:
An EBI belt is indeed “easier” to win in that you usually have to go through fewer opponents to win it; and unless you get paired with someone seeded to win the whole thing, odds are that you won’t face the same caliber opponents as you would on the IBJJF mat. That being said, the semi-final and final matches from prior EBI shows are some of the most exciting matches in the history of jiu-jitsu competition. Moreover, the only way to win an EBI belt is to win decisively. EBI titles aren’t ever determined by referee bias; plenty of IBJJF titles are. Then there’s the money issue: an EBI vet can use their status to book seminars as well as land teaching positions and DVD deals, but they also get paid fresh out the gate for their troubles.
We ran a poll on Instagram. The results of that poll were than 70% of the poll takers agreed with Kitt and 30% agreed with me.
So is EBI the future of the sport? At this moment names like Gordon Ryan and Garry Tonon hold a lot of weight in the sport, but how about Jonathan Calestine? Is EBI just 10th Planet vs Renzo Gracie Academy? And does the fact that EBI only pays the winner and only pays for submissions lessen or improve the value of its titles?
What about the future of the sport? Who will be remembered more? EBI winners or IBJJF World Champions?