Big names in local MMA are signed up for the no-gi tournament which will take place this Saturday at the Spenard Rec Center starting at 9 am.
Doug Evans and Ricky Shivers top the list of MMA names to compete including Josh Henry, Nate Hannah, David Knight, Tim Hendricks, Michael Madrid, Shawn McAlpin and many more.
Anchorage Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu’s co-head instructor and tournament organizer Justin Charon spoke about spearheading the Alaska State Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation which will host the event.
What made you decide to start the Alaska State BJJ Federation? “Almost every other state has a BJJ federation so it was time for Alaska to have one too. Our initial plan was to have it run like a committee comprised of the most experienced guys in the state from several different schools. While we were not able to get to that point yet, in future years I hope that's where we end up.”
What does this organization hope to accomplish? “We want anyone serious about their grappling game to get better. One way to do that is test yourself and your individual game. These tournaments will raise the bar at all schools.”
How will this tournament benefit local competitors? “For a long time Alaskan grappling competitors have been at a disadvantage when competing in lower 48 events because it is much easier for lower 48 competitors to enter as many events per year as they want. That experience starts to add up at the higher levels. With travel costs it's easily going to be $1000 to fly out of state and compete. A lot of guys just can’t afford that. Our goal was to bring the competition a little closer to home so participants could gain experience.”
You recently posted the list of registered competitors and there were some major names in local MMA. How do you feel about the turnout? “You need to remember that the UFC was started by BJJ guys as a way to prove the effectiveness of grappling in a real fight. BJJ and MMA will always have a tight linkage. Rather than start with a traditional gi (uniform) event we decided to have the first tournament be no-gi, submission grappling so that some of the MMA schools in town would be more likely to enter. We have some of the biggest names in Alaska MMA in this event. For less experienced MMA fighters competing in submission grappling is a no-brainer. They get some experience being under pressure but less risk of injury than a pro fight.”
How will the tournament proceed? “Since one of our goals was to prepare people for out of state events we used weight classes and rules very close to what other major events have. The final break down is 26 brackets based on weight and skill level.”
How are preparations going? “When we decided to form ASBJJF one thing we did not want to do was have a sub-par event. We purchased 2000 sq/ft of new mats, bought nice medals and competitor shirts and the proper equipment to run an event like this. Hopefully the end result is a quality tournament people want to come back to.”
What is the time and venue and will there be a charge for people to attend? “We are going to start at 9 am Saturday, November 13 at the Spenard Rec Center. We are not charging for spectators so everyone is welcome to come on down and watch.”