This past weekend Long Beach California was home to the very first World Jiu Jitsu Expo. The expo featured amazing seminars by the best in BJJ, such as Robert Drysdale, Andre Galvao, and Renzo Gracie.
On Saturday the expo featured a series of Superfights headlined by Gracie Barra’s Braulio Estima vs MMA vet and Cesar Gracie Black Belt Nick Diaz. Now Nick Diaz is no stranger to controversy, but he increased his stock in “haters” as Estima sat on the mat waiting for his opponent and Diaz was nowhere to be found.
This started a whole slew of comments via social media, as there was allegations of Estima missing weight, of Diaz not weighing on the right day, of shady promoters, and even somehow Rhonda Rousey got involved.
First the weight issue. Unfortunately there is still controversy on what was the agreed upon weight. Anyone who has competed in BJJ competitions knows that there usually is a range of weight per division, for example 180-195lbs. I still don’t understand how this has become such an issue, or why there was even weight involved as all the other superfights had no weigh-ins. In addition, the other superfights had huge weight differences, Glover was reportedly 20lbs heavier than Terra, as well as Lovato over Leite, and there was no issue.
There was discrepancies on when the weigh in was as Diaz weighed in the night before at 180 and reportedly Estima weighed in at 189. This prompted social media blasting that Estima didn’t make weight. However, apparently there was an agreement for Estima to weigh in the day of, which wasn’t released to the public until after the fact (This caused a bunch of retractions over the internet from people chastising him for not making weight.) At this point apparently Diaz had already left.
Unfortunately, no one had told Estima who was waiting in the mat area for his match. Visibly upset in the post interviews, Braulio indicates that he had made weight and that a Lana was witness to it. He was then misunderstood as to saying “Rhonda” and to which reporters thought it was Rhonda Rousey, who was quickly interviewed and of course denied it. This caused more hater tweets but soon they were all retracted again as they realized the name mistake.
There are also the allegations that Nick Diaz’s only stipulation was that he didn’t face anyone in MMA as he didn’t want anyone to use his name to further their MMA career even though this wasn’t an MMA match. A statement from Cesar Gracie indicates that rumours had surfaced that Braulio was training with the Blackzilians and was preparing for a MMA debut. I haven’t read anything to confirm or deny this.
Cesar Gracie also indicates that he was not impressed with one of the promoters who had booted Rilion Gracie (Cesar’s Uncle) from the promotion and thereby upsetting Cesar. In addition, he indicates that he was continually misinformed from this promoter, who was using Nick’s name to boost the promotion, but yet was favoring all the Brazilian competitors. After the Friday weigh in Nick apparently had enough and decided to leave.
All this story needs is an one armed man and a high speed chase and we have a conspiracy movie. First off, this is a case of when twitter goes bad. As we can clearly see no one still has all the facts. Too many people were jumping to conclusions and there was some bad reporting. The whole “Lana” vs “Rhonda” ordeal is a joke and trust me the reporters are feeling the backlash from the BJJ community on this. Secondly, the whole weight issue still doesn’t make sense as all the other matches didn’t have weigh ins. Thirdly, there is clearly some poor communication as the promoters may not have been completely honest, but on the other hand Nick Diaz should have at least contacted his coaches and tell them he was not going to participate.
In a strange way I can see why Nick Diaz decided to leave, but his way of doing it just made him look like the villain again. Some food for thought, Nick Diaz was the only competitor to indicate that he was donating his purse to charity, and reports from Cesar Gracie state that although he did not compete, he still is making that donation out of pocket.
The sad part of the story is that people are complaining as to paying ten dollars to see the match and losing out, ALTHOUGH the other superfights featured BJJ royalty. The Terra/Glover match was worth ten dollars alone. I understand people are upset, but as Dana White put it “Are you surprised?”
By all accounts my understanding was the the whole expo was amazing. I really hope that they use this as learning tool for future expos, and maybe visit other cities….closer to me!