Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Tour : Jiu-Jitsu for A Cause
Since its establishment in November 2012, the UAE Jiu-jitsu Federation has played a leading role promoting the sport of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. The federation’s strategy breaks barriers implementing policies that evolve the sport in collaboration with various government entities, educational institutions, and other partners to assist with promotion a local, regional, and global demographic.
The UAE’s plan was put into action on September 3 with the launch of the 2016-2017 season of the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Jiu-jitsu World Tour tournament in Los Angeles, California. Emanating live from the Los Angeles Convention Center with more than 1,000 competitors in attendance and 13 television networks broadcasting from around the world, the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam showcased the gold standard of professional jiu-jitsu.
Each with their own intentions, competitors from across the globe were suited for battle inside the South Hall of the convention center, all bidding for the opportunity of claiming bragging rights as the best in their division and stake their claim to $100,000 cash prize. From white belts to seasoned black belts, no competitor disappointed as each athlete showcased his/her remarkable talent for the world to see.
The blue belt division brought a unique blend of modern and aggressive style of jiu-jitsu unto the stage and with only four minutes to spare there was no room for error making all the matches that much of a treat for the audience.
The blue belt 85kg division was ruled by Adam Bradley. 20-years old, Bradley originates from New Hampshire and moved to Southern California to pursue his dream of becoming a BJJ World Champion. He’s had major success on the tournament circuit since joining Atos Jiu-jitsu in 2015 and this tournament was no exception. Bradley dominated all of his opponents to snag another gold medal and $500 cash prize. For Bradley this tournament not only supports his dream but with the addition of the cash prize it offers some extra reward for all his hard work.
“I felt very confident going into this tournament as I was able to play my game which helped a lot today,” Bradley told MYMMANEWS. “The cash prizes is great because it will assist me with the cost of living and also makes all the hard work I put into in the gym worth it .”
The tournament also garnered participation from athletes in the Mixed Martial Arts community. BJJ purple belt and former TUFF N UFF Champion Kevin Crane has been very active in many grappling and MMA competitions throughout 2016. For Crane the experience at the Grand Slam assists toward his ultimate goal of one day fighting on the prestigious fight stage of MMA.
“The experience here at Abu this tournament has helped a lot that I will use in MMA to my dream of one day fighting in the UFC,” Crane said.
The female brown/black belt division was a show-stopping attraction of raw talent female competitors putting women’s jiu-jitsu on the forefront on the Abu Dhabi grand stage. The event did great wonders for recently promoted brown belt Terri Grace. After a long layoff from competition Grace came in third place which reignited her motivation for testing her skills at the high level.
“This was my first tournament as a brown belt and it was a good way to shake off the rust,” Grace told MYMMANEWS.
“I jumped right into the adult brown/black belt division at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam. I didn’t get the results that I wanted but I’m coming home $500 richer. It was a tough first tournament back competing but I couldn’t have done it without my team.”
A clash of titans the black belt division featured an endless series of barn-burning action leaving the thousands in attendance on the edge of their seats. From new rising jiujiteros Mikey Musumeci and Edwin Najmi snagging championship titles in their division to Xande Ribeiro proving once more why he is one of the Jiu-jitsu greats with an impressive victory over Arnaldo Maidana, there was no shortage of memorable moments brought to you by the black belt elites.
Another Abu Dhabi highlight featured an inspiring performance from two elite competitors representing the CBPJJ (Confederation Brazil Paradesportiva Jiu-jitsu). Amputee Jiu-jitsu athletes Mario “Cowboy” Edson Oliveria Silva (BJJ Black Belt) and student Elcirley Luz Silva (BJJ Brown Belt) received a standing ovation as their heart, passion, and skills could be felt throughout the arena proving once more that anything is possible with the right positive mindset. Cowboy walked away with a gold medal while Luz Silva came away with the silver prize. The Abu Dhabi event is a platform for both individual in expressing their love for the sport that as undoubtedly saved their lives.
“Why not compete with everyone?,” asked Elcirley. “We both have good lives being a part of this sport and just love competing. We discovered Abu Dhabi two years ago. We have watched BJJ grow from the start and this organization is doing great things for all the fighters and promoting jiu-jitsu.”
From the production, to the exciting fights, to the fan attendance it’s safe to say the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam delivered a successful event. The festivities didn’t stop there as Day 2 No-Gi action continued the momentum which one again spelled out success on all fronts. Fortunately for us all Abu Dhabi is far from done as Los Angeles only the first stop of its world tour with future stops in Tokyo, London, Rio De Janeriro, and Abu Dhabi.
USA event organizer Guastavo Muggiati foresees a bright future for Abu Dhabi which success will elevate jiu-jitsu to worldwide acclaim that will profit the organization, the sport of jiu-jitsu, and the athletes.
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“Every year we see a big difference in our events that is a step in the right direction. In the future will help provide revenue to fighters to do what they love and more sponsorship to assist with the financing of our tournament. Until we reach that goal we will continue to strive in making Abu Dhabi a professional event.”- Guastavo Muggiati