Various jiu-jitsu organizations and competitions have developed their own sets of rules based on their specific goals and values.
As a result, there is an inconsistent system of rules that are applied unevenly across multiple promotions. This is a significant reason why BJJ is primarily popular among BJJ practitioners.
The biggest federation in BJJ is IBJJF but they’re losing influence with competitors claiming their World titles have lost prestige in recent years.
IBJJF is very unapologetic in how they apply the rules which has led to a number of incidents over the years that have contributed to making BJJ even less enjoyable from a spectators point of view. However, they have successfully policed greasing.
But Flograppling has gone a different way and somehow managed to fumble even worse.
Flograppling is shamelessly ignorant when it comes to penalizing athletes at the expense of the event. One famous case of this happening was the infamous slam lawsuit. Lawsuit was filed against Flograppling and (now deceased) Orlando Sanchez after he slammed an opponent into the mat contrary to competition rules
This past weekend, Felipe Pena faced Nick Rodriguez. Rodriguez was previously accused of greasing by former teammate Gordon Ryan after a close contest at UFC invitational 3.
Pena repeatedly complained to the ref during the contest. As a result, Rodriguez was wiped down by the ref holding a wad of kitchen towels.
“I think the cream thing is actually true” Rodriguez told flograppling adding:
“Not talking s**t about Nick I think he’s a warrior you get he got the match like two or three days notice.”
“I think that’s a fault of rule(s) you know if there is no rule no penalty for that, everyone can do it, you know?”
Is there definitive proof Nick Rodriguez was greasing?
Pena confirmed referee wiped down Rodriguez upon his request:
“I actually request even more I said like many times that he was like really slippery, you know. But I feel like the referee didn’t know what to do much. You know, I think there is not a rule, a specific rule for that. I think in wrestling or anything like that, if you do that you will (get) disqualified or something like that. So the athletes don’t risk it too much to do that”
“I don’t know if he actually did or not, but I felt really slippery” – Pena concluded
How do we deal with it?
Gordon Ryan proposed severe penalties for greasing a day earlier. He even went so far as to claim that a competitor who is determined to be greasing should forfeit a large percentage of their purse to their opponent. In addition, he should be receiving a penalty that would make it substantially harder to win the match.
Ryan is concerned with brand equity, Flograppling is concerned with their numbers and IBJJF is concerned with maintaining a monopoly on amateur competitions. None of them offer a definitive solution and the discrepancy between rules and penalties can be costly.
There are major problems plaguing BJJ that have to be dealt with if the sport is ever going to break out and reach the next level.
John Davis is a dedicated practitioner of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, having first started training in the martial art in 2011. Despite facing significant knee issues that have sidelined him for a period, John remains passionate about the sport and continues to follow all the latest developments in the BJJ community.