Upcoming Grappling Tournament to Feature UFC Stars
Gracie and Diaz are two of the biggest names in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and professional Mixed Martial Arts.
Early next month, the family names come together as UFC fighters Nick and Nate Diaz are slated to compete in the annual Gracie Open grappling tournament.
For BJJ and MMA fans, alike, this promises to be an exciting event, though the MMA fans who disengage whenever a fight goes to the ground should skip this.
There has been no word yet on whom the Diaz brothers will be competing against, nor has there been an announcement of what other high-profile BJJ players are likely to appear. Expect that information to materialize as the day draws nearer.
The tournament is, however, open to any competitors that happen to be in the area. It features both gi and n0-gi (or gi-less, depending on your nomenclature preferences) divisions. The cost is comparable to that of a NAGA tournament: $75 for one division or $100 for both.
It all goes down Saturday, August 4th at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, California from 8 AM to 9 PM. If this follows the model established by the World Jiu-Jitsu Expo in May, an online pay-per-view option should be available, at least for the main events.
About the Headlining Fighters
For both Diaz brothers, the event is an opportunity to test their hard-won Cesar Gracie BJJ black belts. And for both, this is also an opportunity to stay busy during layoffs – for different reasons – in their UFC careers.
For Nick, in particular, it’s also a chance to redeem himself after the farce of the World Jiu-Jitsu Expo, at which he failed to appear.
A Lot on the Line for Embattled Superstar Nick Diaz
The elder Diaz earned his black belt in May of 2007, and in his 35 professional MMA fights, he has never been submitted. With his brother, he shares an unorthodox but extremely successful boxing style that has carried both siblings to the pinnacle of mixed martial arts.
For all his skill, though, Nick’s MMA career has been beset by a series of serious obstacles. His scheduled bout against UFC welterweight title-holder Georges St-Pierre was scrapped after Diaz declined a series of contractually-mandated press conferences. He apologized in style,
I’m sorry I didn’t make it to the beauty pageant. But, y’know, I’ve never not showed up to a fight… I’ve never backed out of a fight in my life, that’s not what I do. (source)
Diaz subsequently “lost” a fight (by decision) to an evasive Carlos Condit at UFC 143, after which he ostensibly retired from mixed martial arts. To make matters worse, the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) suspended him following the fight, for a full year, over the inactive “marijuana metabolites” found in a post-fight drug test.
His scheduled appearance at the World Jiu-Jitsu Expo fell through, too, thereby ending his ability to claim he’d “never not showed up to a a fight.” Cesar Gracie offered a lengthy and only-somewhat-satisfying explanation for Nick’s disappearance, largely blaming confusion over weigh-ins and a shadowy promoter named Junior.
It’s worth noting that ambiguity over weigh-ins has been scrupulously excised from the coming Gracie Open. One hopes the embattled fighter salvages his reputation here, because his skills as a boxer and as a BJJ player are unparalleled. Check out his pure Brazilian Jiu Jitsu chops as Nick takes on Jorge “Macaco” Patino in the ADCC in 2010: