Spring is in the air, the cold tendrils of Winter retreating as the flowers finally bloom all around us. This time last year, we might have been training for tournaments or just getting back into BJJ when the world started to shut down in full. Since then, we’ve lost friends, businesses, and countless days on the mat. But we’re still here, baby. Despite it all, we bounced back and now get to bask in the warm summer sun. Martial arts is here again, and so is all the news.
So it’s time for a slightly sappy edition of the Aces BJJ News Round-Up, y’all!
We got some brand spanking new Gordon Ryan news, as well as the always exciting F2W. We also cover the incredible fundraising efforts of a BJJ comic artist in the face of unspeakable tragedy.
Strap in for a bumpy ride gang. This one’s a doozy.
Billy Hong of Immortal Choke Combats Racism
In the wake of last week’s tragic Atlanta shooting, which took the lives of six Asian American women, calls to examine the massive amount of racism against Asians in America have sounded far and wide. One of those voices belongs to Immortal Choke artist and purple belt, Billy Hong. Taking to Instagram, Hong announced a fundraiser for various social charities relating to Asian empowerment.
“A big part of what hurts me is seeing people specifically attacking weaker and more vulnerable people,” Hong said in an Instagram post last week. Wanting to raise money effectively, Hong designed merchandise featuring three different Asian martial artists choking out figures representing hate and racism. The women are featured on shirts, rashguards, masks, and stickers, with 100% of proceeds going to Stop AAPI Hate and the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum.
Quickly gaining traction, other brands began to throw their hat in the ring to support Hong’s efforts. CBD distributor, Fight Back CBD DM’d Hong promised to donate $1000 to both charities if Hong reached that same amount in merch sales. Midnight the next day, he accomplished just that.
If you want to grab some top-tier quality merch AND support a worthy cause, head to Hong’s website here to grab some gear before it vanishes on April 4th!
Gordon Ryan Signs With ONE FC
Perennial headline grabber and ADCC double champ Gordon Ryan is finally making his long-anticipated jump into mixed martial arts. And he’s joining his fellow DDS black belt Garry Tonnon in one of the largest MMA promotions on Earth, ONE FC.
ONE founder and CEO, Chatri Sityodtong, took to social media to spread the word.
“BREAKING NEWS: Gordon Ryan has signed with ONE Championship for both mixed martial arts and submission grappling! As the world’s greatest grappler of all time, Gordon joins the planet’s most elite group of active pound-for-pound GOATS in martial arts today!” the post read. No other details, such as compensation or debate date, were disclosed.
Alongside Tonon, Ryan joins other BJJ luminaries such as Michelle Nicolini and former opponent Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida.
Should his career take off, a solid run in MMA could cement Ryan’s standing as one of the most well-rounded combat sports athletes in history.
If only he’d compete in the gi.
An epic face-off rocked F2W 167 as Tim Spriggs faced Victor Hugo in the main event. A tight contest to end the night, this bout never faced the judges with a finish in the last minute.
Hugo started with a guard pull, but Spriggs countered with a kneebar attempt. Hugo defended and went for the reversal as Spriggs tried to create some space to breathe. Finally finding his pace, Spriggs went back on offense with a guillotine as he stood up. Hugo escaped, though, and again put up a solid defense against his fellow black belt.
Hugo made a brief attempt at wrestling before pulling guard again to hunt for a leg lock at around the three-minute mark. Hugo faced a stiff defense but was eventually able to get a solid bite on Spriggs. Both men went in on Belly Down leg lock attempts, but Hugo was the one to get the tap with 1:04 remaining on the clock.
Victor Hugo via submission!
Well, another roundup in the books, folks. Thanks for reading, and be sure to check out some of the fantastic new writers who’ve begun posting with us this month!
See you next week.
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