IBJJF Rule Overhaul Targets Trans Inclusivity, Meregali incident

The International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation  unveiled a set of rule updates, emphasizing inclusivity for trans athletes and responding to the infamous Nicholas Meregali incident during the 2021 World Championship semifinals.

IBJJF Prioritizes Transgender Athletes: A Shift in Gender Category Compliance

In a significant move, mirroring the ADCC’s decision for 2024, the IBJJF mandates athletes to compete in the gender category corresponding to their sex at birth, irrespective of any gender transition. The federation retains the authority to request original identification documents when necessary, marking a commitment to fairness and consistency.

The Meregali Incident: Rule Modification and Fair Play

Following the controversial gesture by Nicholas Meregali in the 2021 World Championship semifinals, where he was disqualified for misconduct after victory, IBJJF introduces a rule specifying that if an athlete wins a match but faces disqualification later, the victory stands, but the subsequent opponent automatically advances. This revision addresses instances of misconduct without nullifying a legitimate win.

For example, under this updated rule, Meregali’s victory over Victor Hugo would have been upheld, but he would not have faced Max Gimenis in the final, showcasing a focus on sportsmanship and consequences for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Additional Rule Adjustments for Enhanced Dynamics and Fair Play

  1. Rotational Freedom for Brown and Black Belts: Athletes in both adult and master categories with brown and black belts now have the flexibility to rotate in any direction during matches, allowing for more dynamic Leg Lock maneuvers while adhering to the existing cross-leg rule.
  2. 50/50 Guard Penalties: The 50/50 guard position with lapel grip will now incur penalties if an athlete fails to execute a sweep, irrespective of their offensive or defensive posture. This change aims to promote active engagement and discourage stalling during matches.
  3. Appearance Matters: Athletes risk disqualification if their hair dye or makeup stains their opponent’s gi, underscoring the importance of maintaining a clean and professional appearance in competition.

As the IBJJF evolves its rules, these adjustments reflect a commitment to fairness, inclusivity, and sportsmanship, fostering a competitive environment that aligns with the values of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.