MMA and Metamoris are once again blurring the lines between them, as Metamoris 4 continues to take shape.
The next edition in the grappling-centric competition features a number of stars who will be familiar to fans of mixed martial arts. Josh Barnett and Chael Sonnen are two of the newest names to move from the Octagon to the mat to take part in the submission-only competition.
While it is vastly different than the action that occurs inside the cage, MMA fans should still care about the competition.
It was announced this past week that Sonnen and Barnett will be competing at the event. Metamoris 4 is set for August 9 in Los Angeles.
Sonnen will face off against two-time jiu-jitsu world champion Andre Galvao. Barnett will face Dean Lister, whom many will recognize from his time as a mixed martial artist. Barnett has more of a grappling background than Sonnen; however, both are expected to be underdogs coming into this contest. Still, fans should show some level of interest in the action.
Barnett and Sonnen join a list of names that includes Roger Gracie, Brendan Schaub, Shinya Aoki and Kevin Casey as athletes who have competed in Metamoris and at the highest levels of mixed martial arts. Schaub, Aoki and Casey were all defeated, while Gracie grappled to a draw. It will be hard to see either Sonnen or Barnett changing the trend, but this event still deserves attention from the hardcore mixed martial arts fan.
Mainstream MMA tends to focus more on the stand-up action, which creates highlight-reel knockouts and exchanges. Fighters who use a grappling first-style are usually characterized as boring; early critics of Metamoris have said the same thing.
The event is submission-based and uses a judging system if the fight goes the allotted time. This may create the exact type of setting in which many MMA fans might boo, but it can be attractive at the same time.
Metamoris allows a look at technical grappling that isn't seen in MMA. Barnett, Sonnen and others will be able to show a new wrinkle to their game. These two individuals are big names whom many fans will recognize. It's expected that they will bring a new group of viewers with them to the event. Both UFC fighters have a way with words that many in the sport do not, which makes them even more valuable to Metamoris.
Metamoris 3 featured a main event of Eddie Bravo vs. Royler Gracie, which brought a lot of attention to the card. If the fourth edition of the showcase can continue this trend, MMA as a whole would benefit. Luke Rockhold has already shown an interest in competing in the event. Fighters such as Jake Shields and Demian Maia have well-chronicled backgrounds in grappling.
Benson Henderson and Georges St-Pierre have both competed in ADCC; would they be worth watching in Metamoris? What about Ronda Rousey competing in a gi jiu-jitsu match? Nick Diaz is known for his aggressive grappling in the cage; would that work in Metamoris?
The crossover appeal is certainly available within these two sports.
Metamoris also offers an opportunity for fighters to remain relevant once their MMA careers are over. Sonnen, who recently retired amid controversy of another failed drug test, is just one example of a former fighter who has some value as a Metamoris participant. Kenny Florian, Martin Kampmann and others stand out as potential names who could eventually compete on the white mats.
Sport jiu-jitsu has struggled to garner attention in a growing world of combat sports. Metamoris is moving in the right direction by inviting the more accomplished mixed martial artists to compete in the competition.
Metamoris 4 features a former UFC champion and a three-time title challenger. MMA fans should be interested in seeing how well their favorite fighters compete against some of the best grapplers in the world.