ADCC promoter admits purses have stagnated: “Very well behind MMA”

The Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championship is widely considered the most prestigious no-gi grappling competition in the world. However, while the event has grown considerably in popularity and scale over the past decade, the prize money awarded to winners has not kept pace.

In interview a while ago with Morning Kombat, ADCC promoter and lead organizer Mo Jassim admitted that the purses have remained unchanged since the inaugural event in 1998.

“Generally speaking, the prize money, it hasn’t changed since 1998 ever since the beginning. So it was very good back then. That is one thing. Will probably have a conversation with them about hopefully for this one is maybe, hey, let’s upgrade the pay grade for this one,” said Jassim.

He went on to acknowledge that the payouts are nowhere close to what athletes in sports like mixed martial arts are earning nowadays. “But in terms of the purse, what’s it called? In the grand scheme of things, I think it’s about 250 k across the board. So very, you know, we’re very well behind MMA and stuff like that.”

This mirrors Gordon Ryan’s concerns we recently unearthed.

While Jassim did not reveal specific details about potential prize money increases for 2024, his comments indicate that there may finally be momentum to bring the purses more in line with the growth and visibility grappling has achieved. For an event seeking to sell $1 million tickets and hit new viewership records, boosting pay could be key to attracting the level of talent needed to get there.

Whether enhanced purses end up on the table or not, Jassim’s admission makes clear that change is likely necessary for ADCC prizes to avoid stagnating even further behind the earnings of other combat sports athletes.