Comp Review: Grappling Games Fall 2011

Absolute No Gi Winners. First place (center) Nick Robinson of McCune Martial Arts

There are two things that I learned from attending/reffing at the Fall 2011 Grappling Games at the Midwest Center For Movement in Hudson Wisconsin:

1) If you promise two semi-lazy competitors free tickets to a Lingerie Football game, they will suddenly roll like their lives depended on it.

2) All competitions need to be run this way.

Odds are that if you are reading this, you are at least a little familiar with grappling events in the Midwest. You have probably been to or heard of the Submission Hunt, MKG tourneys and NAGA. We don’t have a lot of options around here because, frankly, just putting on tournaments is a pain in the ass.

And, all due respect to the Submission Hunt (and I truly mean that, because right now they are the only ones with the pull to bring in as many competitors as they do) the Grappling Games runs things a little more to my style.

First of all, they use Grapplers Quest style scheduling.

For the life of me, I don’t know my more tournaments don’t have the upper belt/experience levels roll first.

They have the time in to at least warrant not having to stand around for 2,4,10 hours just waiting to roll. And, they are the ones that the whites and novices should be watching to see where their game needs to go.

I get having kids and teens go first, and I am fine with that, but I say, if your belt has color, your a** doesn’t need to be sitting around waiting to compete.

Second, the atmosphere.

I realize that part of this has to do with the number of competitors. With over 100, but under 200 competitors it is easier to have that close knit feel. And when the event isn’t being held in a gymnasium or convention center, the close walls force people to not be wall flowers and ignore people from other gyms.

As always, the mood was lighthearted and MCFM owner/head instructor Mike Ellefson (Rigan Machado Blackbelt) has once again put on a strong showing that is bringing in higher and higher skill levels.

Yup, even the browns are starting to show up for this one.

Added to the fact that Mike if fully open about his proceeds going to charity to help keep at risk teens off the street, and it is pretty difficult to find a reason not to be a part of this event.

Oh yeah, and it was only $40.

For gi and no gi.

Double elimination.

There were very few competitors that, once their divisions were over and offered the chance to roll more, had any energy left.

And I think that we all can remember at least one time when we either only had one match, or found out that there was no one else in our skill/weight division.

On top of all that, this is a tournament where no one school dominates. It seemed like each and every school present brought representatives that either showed incredible performances or just outright won their divisions. No one school was the center of attention.

This event is about the grapplers, not the “glory”.

Part of me is always excited when the Grappling Games comes around. It is a great opportunity to talk with people from other gyms in an environment in which people aren’t staring at each other like the enemy.

Although, I really need to stop living the High Life the night before.

A six pack and Greek food is not the ideal pre-event dinner when you are so susceptible to peer-pressure that you stay about two hours longer than you could just to keep reffing for free.

But I’m not bitter.

Part of me is also a little concerned. I absolutely love this event, but there is no way that we are going to limit its growth potential. And if too many people start to show up, it’s really going to take away from my circus chimp like behavior of making sure I am the center of attention.

Thank you and congratulations to all the competitors.

Midwest Center for Movement, Spartan Martial Arts, Next Level Combat, Revolution, Minnesota Top Team, Petushin Martial Arts, MKG, MKG-Duluth, Gracie Barra, Apex, Land of 10,000 Strikes, The Academy, McCune Martial Arts, and others that I am probably forgetting because I am a douche. Sorry.

Is Rousimar Palhares Insane? Nope, Just A Douche

Go ahead, you be the judge. Douche or not?

Now, before I break it down let me make two things clear:

1) Rousimar Palhares is an incredible athlete that could end my life without too much difficulty

2) I’m a douche bag, too. BJJ is a douche-y sport. In fact, I fully intend to open a Choking Minnesota Presents: DBJJ gym some day.

But at least I’m a douche bag that doesn’t break people’s legs.

2:04 Palhares falls back for the heel hook

2:06 Avellan spins to avoid the heel hook, taking him off the side of the mat.

2:08 The ref puts his hands on Palhares to get the competitors to freeze

2:10 With a hand on his back and a ref telling him to stop he starts to twist to lock in the move, much to the confusion of Avellan, who has stopped moving.

2:13 Palhares does his “Hulk Smash” impression by grabbing the back of Avellan’s head. Perhaps as a show of affection. It is not taken as such.

2:19 Palhares shows what his intention was and give what I want to call the Brazilian Bro Hug.

2:23 Just in case the two men that are looking at him weren’t paying attention, he does the BBH again.

2:52 Yup, you guessed it. He goes in for another BBH. Avellan is having none of it and shows his displeasure as the judges confer and decide to put him back into the heel hook.

3:30 The match restarts with the lock already in place, Avellan tries to spin right away, Palhares torques HARD. And just about breaks Avellan’s leg in half.

Before you make your decision, forget about seeing Palhares have to pried away from a heel hook in the UFC, which resulted in a broken leg and a suspension.

Forget about his fight against Dan Miller where he decided that the fight must be over, so he jumped up on the cage in the first round only to be coaxed back down like a kitty out of a tree by Herb Dean.

You know what, f*** that. Don’t forget any of that.

The guy’s a douche.

Submission Predictions: UFC 136

Okay, it’s gonna take a while for Jimmy Johns to get here. Freaky fast my ass.

So, while I wait, let’s go over some submission scenarios for UFC 136:

I’m not going over all the fights so done start f***ing complaining later when you realize I didn’t cover everyone. I’m going to do two fights from the under just because I like the fighters or think there might actually be a f***ing sub. Or at least an attempt.

Aarson Simpson (9-2) versus Eric “Red” Schafer (14-5-2)

Simpson is a world-class wrestler and neither of his losses are via submission. He actually has one in his win column, but it was back in 2000.
Schafer is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with 9 of his wins via submission, but hasn’t had a lot of luck in the UFC where he has suffered 4 out of his 5 losses.
That being said, Simpson will likely try to take this to the ground and Schafer will likely let him. If there is a sub or sub attempt, it is going to be from Schafer. And I would guess it would be a guillotine.

Chance of Submission: 25%


Demian Maia (13-3) versus Jorge Santiago (23-9)

Of course I’m going to talk about Maia. What kind of f***ing BJJ site would this be without me talking about Maia? 8 of his wins are via submission, however, as of late, it seems to be up to the judges if he wins or loses.
Santiago is a tough cat that likes to work his game from the ground. Most of his losses have come from (T)KO and none from being submitted. Gotta favor Maia on the ground, but if it goes there it could be a huge back and forth.

Chance of Submission: 75% (99% chance of at least an attempt, God help me if these guys only want to strike)

Crap, this is already taking way too f***ing long to type, I gotta speed this up before my hangover kicks in. Forget me listing records, you’ll be lucky if I am doing first names by the end.

Melvin Guillard vs Joe Lauzon

Guillard is crazy strong with good wrestling, but is suspect to submissions. Lauzon can’t compete with the strength but might be more well rounded. I give the submission edge to Lauzon.

Chance of Submission: 50%

Leonard Garcia vs Nam Phan

Garcia is a freak that could take a cinder block to the skull, but can’t see a telegraphed Twister. Phan is… I dunno, I guess well rounded. I just don’t care about this fight.

Chance of Submission: 15%

Brian Stann vs Chael Sonnen

Stann knocks people out and Sonnen has made his feelings on submissions well known. Stann can get controlled on the ground by dominant wrestlers and Sonnen doesn’t go for subs.


Chance of Submission: 1% (via omoplata by Sonnen if there is a God)

Kenny Florian vs Jose Aldo (featherweight title fight)

Florian is a black belt with an eating disorder that can either choke you out or get a TKO because he cuts you with an elbow. And he seems to be blackmailing Dana White into always getting title shots.
Aldo just likes to knock people out. Aldo’s sole loss in 19 fights is from a rear naked choke back in 2005. He’s had 12 fights since then and finished 7 via (T)KO. Of course, Aldo could have had an issue cutting weight and just look s***y.

Chance of Submission: 30% (which is being generous as it assumes that Aldo doesn’t knock KenFlo out in the first round)


Frankie Edgar vs Gray Maynard (light weight title fight)

Mayhard has an unofficial loss via guillotine to Nate Diaz on The Ultimate Fighter, besides that he will probably look for the KO or slam his way to a decision. Edgar has at least gotten a  sub. If anything in the way of a sub happens I am guessing rear naked choke when someone gets lit up.
Two wrestlers going at it for 5 rounds? What do you think?


Chance of Submission: 5%

What? You expected more out of this crowd? Or me?