Hello, grappling fans, young and old, and welcome to the latest edition of the Aces BJJ Roundup!
Not even a month into the year, and we’ve already seen all manner of wackiness from the world of combat sports. A retired MMA legend is set to fight a YouTube troll, a high-ranking Gracie is going to prison, and one of the premier grappling events is changing providers.
Now I know we all wanted an easy start to the new year, and that is, categorically, 100% not what we received, but the combat sports world has still been good to its fans in month one of 2021.
So let’s get cracking!
Askren vs. Paul Boxing Bout Set for April
In the latest instance of “News that makes me want to run my hand through a paper shredder,” YouTube troll turned amateur boxer Jake Paul is going to fight retired UFC fighter and former NCAA champion wrestler Ben Askren in a boxing bout this April. Paul plans on adding Askren to his “KO Meme Collection” by the end of the fight.
Lemmie just grab a few Vicodin before we continue. This story sucks so damn hard.
Ok, good to go.
Fresh off a TKO victory against NBA Slam Dunk champion Nate Robinson, Paul quickly capitalized on the attention to call out former double champ and UFC legend Connor McGregor and his BJJ coach Dillon Danis.
Following Connor’s recent shocking loss to rival/professional cool guy Dustin Poirier, Paul left the planned bout and shifted his attention to different opponents. Then on the 26th, seemingly out of nowhere, multiple sources reported that a bout between Askren and Paul was in the works before both men confirmed the news on social media.
Hosted by Triller, the organization that previously hosted the Tyson/Jones Jr. exhibition card, the fight will be eight rounds with both men wearing 10 oz. gloves and will be available for streaming on Saturday, April 17.
Why Paul thinks fighting a (mainly) wrestler with bad hips in a non-grappling contest will prove he’s a serious boxer, I have no idea.
“Some MMA guys think because they throw punches, they know how to box,” Paul said via Instagram.
Here’s hoping Ben breaks out that legendary spinning back fist for this one.
Ralph Gracie Sentenced to Prison
The finale to one of the more shameful events in recent martial arts history is finally here.
Last week, Ralph Gracie was sentenced to six months in prison for his assault of Gracie Barra North America President Flavio Almeida at the 2019 IBJJF No-Gi Worlds. Leaving Almeida without many of his teeth, the Gracie legend proceeded to flee the country and kicked off a multi-year avalanche of court proceedings and PR catastrophes for the art we all love. We published a detailed timeline of events here for those looking for a more in-depth breakdown of the situation start-to-finish.
It was a dark day, showcasing some of the worst stereotypes and attitudes of combat sports in popular culture. BJJ may have been born and nurtured through dojo storms and street brawls, but clocking a guy in the face because he put a gym kind of close to your “territory” reeks of insecure bravado mixed with insanity.
With a half year stint, a 50k fine, and mandatory anger management classes, one could easily say the black belt got off relatively light considering the crime and available evidence. Despite that, the GB brass seems hopeful all parties can now move past the incident and focus on building the sport in 2021.
No more punching gang, let’s just roll.
3CG Switches to FITE TV
One of the world’s largest grappling tournaments today has made a massive switch in providers this week. Texas-based Third Coast Grappling will be moving their show away from Flo Grappling to FITE TV (watch instructions here) this year.
Being with Flo for most of its existence, 3CG has grown to become almost synonymous with the brand. But with an ever-rising standard of excellence in their shows combined with dynamite performances from the likes of Cyborg and William Tackett, their ability to look for new partnerships is earned.
According to Third Coast founder Ryan McGuire, their contract with FITE TV will go the next two years, beginning with 3CG VI in April. Citing their experience with names like the UFC, Mike Tyson, and Bare Knuckle Fighting, McGuire is confident that FITE “gets” what direction 3CG wants to head in for the future.
What does that mean for anyone looking to keep up with their shows? Well, unfortunately, it may hurt your wallet a tad depending on your circumstance. FloGrappling subscriptions come in at $12.49 per month, whereas 3CG will now be available through pay-per-view for $14.99 a pop with free prelim cards. Be on the lookout for the full card announcement on February 1st.
That’s it for this edition of the Aces BJJ Roundup! All you readers out there, be sure to stay safe and healthy during this ever-turbulent time.
See you on the mats.
Aces BJJ Blog staff writer and BJJ Blue belt under Edward “Scissor Hands” Berberich of Soulcraft BJJ. Kevin has been training BJJ for four years and complaining about Star Wars for over 20. Follow him on Instagram @kbrads_bjj