In March Dylan and I competed in Houston Texas at the Houston International Open. We didn’t know it at the time, but this would be the last IBJJF competition of the year. At the time, I was preparing for the Pan Am Championships in Irvine. I was very excited and had a stacked bracket. While the US response had been delayed, in Houston the IBJJF had already begun the new normal. No spectators were allowed in the lower stadium area. Only competitors could approach the rings. Workers were cleaning everything every 15 minutes with antiseptic swabs. It was really quite impressive, especially since there had been no cases in Houston at that point. Fast forward 10 days, and the entire Jiu Jitsu World came to a screeching halt. No competitions, no training, just like that.
Fast forward a couple of months. With COVID failing to peak in several states, Texas was one of the earliest states to begin to allow some professional sporting events. At these events, the State allowed no spectators, and a maximum of 50 people in the events. Despite this, Seth Daniels, owner of Fight to Win Pro, began to examine his normal business model and made the decision to take the risk of holding events without spectators. These events would be televised over Flo Grappling, which would be the primary source of revenue. To make it work, virtually all of the revenue went to the workers, with Seth using all of the money to pay his workers. Only the headlining fighters would receive pay, which is a big change since Seth has done a great job paying athletes over the years. With all of these limitations, Dylan applied. Having competed well for the promotion in the past, he was selected for one of four black belt matches.
These are challenging times, but fortunately Dylan was able to get a direct flight to Dallas. He was able to train with our Professor Bruno “Tank” Mendes and his other black belts. This was important since Dylan’s lower training volume during the past 2 months had him a little heavier than usual. After making weight on Friday, he rehabilitated quickly at a local Taco place. Dylan was matched against a very tough Black Belt Jason Bright, whose teacher is a Cyborg Black Belt. Dylan performed well, but was unable to submit his opponent despite a deep triangle, a foot lock with several loud pops and a mounted lapel choke at the end. Needless to say, Jason was a tuff guy with solid Jiu Jitsu. Dylan had done many of these pro events but this one was special. Truly the only game in town.
As we all resurface from these tough times, we look forward to everyone finding their way back to the mats. We have been fortunate in Tallahassee, in that we were not heavily affected by the pandemic. We appreciate all of your support and look forward to seeing you again soon.