Gordon Ryan, one of the top competitive grapplers in the world, stated a while ago that the Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) needs to drastically increase the prize money for its winners if the submission grappling promotion wants to accelerate the sport’s growth.
In an interview on The Miguel Benitez Podcast Tapping in, Ryan argued that while ADCC is currently the most prestigious no-gi jiu-jitsu event, the payouts are still quite low compared to other professional sports. He believes increasing the winner’s purse to $250,000 or more per division would attract even higher level athletes and create mainstream buzz around grappling.
“My biggest thing to build ADCC is doing an amazing job, obviously. But you have to, you have to increase the prize money, in my opinion,” Ryan said. “I think I think that you either have to increase the prize money so drastically that it’s like by far the highest payment in spend, like grappling events, period.”
The current ADCC champion only receives $10,000 for winning their weight class. Ryan thinks that is a negligible amount in the grand scheme and won’t move the needle in terms of growth or talent acquisition for ADCC.
Ryan would also like to see the absolute champion increased from $20,000 to $500,000 and the superfight winner boosted from $30,000 to $1 million. These types of payouts would make winning ADCC life-changing for even the top athletes in the sport.
While Ryan understands the challenges of getting buy-in from ADCC’s owners, he believes prize money needs to hit these higher thresholds to truly elevate grappling into an internationally recognized professional sport on par with MMA or boxing.