Metamoris Pro Jiu-Jitsu Invitational II takes place this Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles at the Pauley Pavilion and will stream live on Metamoris.com for just under $20.
It will feature 20-minute grappling matches between 12 of the best grappling practitioners on the planet, including the main event between Kron Gracie and Shinya Aoki, as well as UFC heavyweight Brendan Schaub taking on Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu. The man behind this budding promotion is Ralek Gracie.
A third-generation member of the storied family, and he himself a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Gracie began Metamoris to continue to pay tribute and respect to the martial art he grew up around and has known and practiced all his life.
There are other highly-respected grappling invitational competitions like the ADCC, but none that stream live on pay-per-view, or feature promotional videos that mimic that of the UFC.
“I think jiu-jitsu deserves that respect,” Gracie told Bleacher Report. “I grew up with the respect for jiu-jitsu like that. Seeing it as something that is most important than pretty much anything. Of course I had a really biased opinion but it was like jiu-jitsu is right there with the food that you eat as far as importance for your soul and your life and your health and everything.”
Gracie’s father is Rorion Gracie, who was one of the founding members of the UFC. He famously sold his share of the promotion after UFC 5 due to the implement of rounds and time limits—feeling it took away from the true expression of jiu-jitsu and martial arts.
While Metamoris does have a 20-minute time limit on each match, there are no rounds and you cannot win based on points. You must submit your opponent. That seems to at least pay a little homage to his father.
“Absolutely, the influence comes from my family,” Gracie said. “It comes from the idea that Jiu-jitsu is an art, it’s not a sport. It’s something that needs to be free, something that needs to be unbound to be at its full potential.”
Gracie explained that he wants Metamoris to be “as close to a fight as possible but without any striking.” He also mentioned that the goal is “to keep it as free as possible for these guys to do what they do best, and to allow for many different styles to come in and have a chance, with submission being the ultimate glory.”
In the first Metamoris, three of the six matches ended by submission; the other three were ruled as draws due to the time expiring in the match.
For the second installment, judges will now be in place to award a winner—should any match go the distance—based on the entirety of the 20 minutes. Gracie broke down the criteria:
“It’s absolutely a way of just being able to decide if there is somebody who is technically dominating the match and who’s timing is sharper and who’s getting closer to submissions and is more likely—assuming the match was to continue forever—is more likely overall to get the submission or just be in more control of the match.”
A big question after a draw is usually “If it continued, who would’ve won,” Gracie said. “That kind of question, we are able to ask that because were doing this the way we want to do it,” he explained.
“We are bringing in professional and master judges of jiu-jitsu who have been through so many wars in their lives and can actually sit there and judge something like this, like it’s a piece of art—which it is.”
“These artists are coming together and creating a piece together and the outcome is that there is certain composition, there is a certain amount of color and lighting and all these things that play a part into who is essentially better that night,” said Gracie, further elaborating on his analogy.
A competitor could very well be headed for victory, but sometimes “20 minutes is just not enough,” Gracie explains. “When you have 20 minutes, it has to be able to have a system to decide, but we couldn’t decide on any point system whatsoever, because any point system will allow for the competitors to train for that point system.”
The 27-year-old Brazilian was putting major emphasis on the fact that they “want to get the most exciting matches with the top grapplers in the world, and create stuff that people are going to talk about and want to see.”
Gracie was very excited when talking about the main event and the contrast in styles between his cousin Kron Gracie and Shinya Aoki.
“He doesn’t fight like a regular jiu-jitsu person,” Gracie explained. “So his style is going to be very different, so Kron is not going to necessarily be used to that. He can pull of some kind of surprise technique or do something interesting that no one has ever seen before.
"That’s the kind of stuff that I want to see in the event and stuff that’s not just like if you’re a regular ‘Oh we got to just be jiu-jitsu people and move the way everybody moves in jiu-jitsu tournaments.’ No this is a fight without striking. This is a free expression of kinetic energy. This is awesome. I’m excited about it.”
The jiu-jitsu black belt admitted to being interested in other grappling martial arts aside from the most common one represented in his organization.
“If there is a sick Sambo guy who is also training in jiu-jitsu but has a very solid Sambo background, I feel that could be extremely dangerous and a very serious combination,” stated Gracie with enthusiasm in his voice.
“I would be very excited to bring somebody in like that from a different country, who brings a kind of a completely different style. I would do that even if they didn’t have any real titles in America or any regular jiu-jitsu competition.”
It doesn’t seem to matter what the grappling style is for Metamoris, as long as the grappler is among the top of the food chain of his style. “We want the best people we can get,” Gracie said.
He hasn’t tried to secure a TV deal for Metamoris just yet, because he feels they will try to adjust the set time on the matches, and like his father being stubborn back in the day on rounds and time limits coming into play, Gracie will not relent on the 20-minute mark for matches.
“There are too many people who are riding on this. Twenty minutes is almost too short,” Gracie justified. “Twenty minutes is the shortest that I could’ve gone in my heart and know I’m doing something right for jiu-jitsu. We are going to keep it and just go online. The Internet is bigger than TV at this point, so we’re doing it.”
They’ll continue steaming events online; however, he did mention that Metamoris isn’t just exclusive to the west coast.
“We are looking all over,” Gracie said. “Wherever there is a big enough population of jiu-jitsu interest we definitely will be there. That’s pretty much everywhere at this point. It’s getting very popular, we just want to be there and take this show on the road, no doubt.”
As for the possibility of seeing some of the legends of the Gracie family compete under the Metamoris banner, like Royce, Renzo, or Rickson, Gracie said “There is for sure.”
Michael Stets is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained first hand unless otherwise noted.