The Jiu-Jitsu interwebs are on fire today with the news that Seth Daniels, CEO of Fight2Win, and Ryan McGuire, President/CEO of 3CG, have officially joined forces.
Only a handful of brands carry universal respect in the professional grappling world, and Fight2Win is near the top of that very short list. They were the first organization to hop, from town to town, putting on the sport’s most elaborate and fantabulous shows.
Run by Denver-based MMA promoter Seth Daniels, the organization has consistently displayed what they lovingly refer to as “the biggest party in grappling” since 2015. Nearly 200 events later, they are still going strong, featuring a veritable who’s who of the sport.
Enter Third Coast Grappling. Ryan McGuire is a compelling character who initially burst onto the scene promising diverse rule sets, star-studded lineups, and a constantly morphing animosity with other promotions.
Initially, he was at odds with FloGrapppling, the sport’s biggest streaming service, but eventually signed on only to quickly remove his shows from their service for an entirely new streaming company’s platform, FiteTV.
From the jump, Seth and Ryan had a love-hate relationship. The two have somewhat similar online personas, both touting their lack of “give-a-fuck” and aspirations to build something special. This tension caused them to bicker in comment sections at times, even blocking one another. But when the common enemy of Covid hit, the two gentlemen made some semblance of peace.
Recently FloGrappling seems to have entirely stopped promoting Fight2Win events, refraining from showcasing the promotion’s matches and only sharing the event posters and one or two sporadic videos per show.
For better or worse, they instead choose to focus on building the Who’s Number One brand as a regular, star-studded event with a longer match format but fewer matches.
WNO has, in its own right, has become a spectator-friendly series but, in the process, pushed Fight2Win from its desired marketing.
It would appear from an outsider’s perspective that Seth and Flo are patiently waiting for their contract to expire so that they can part ways amicably. But hopefully, at least to this voyeuristic reporter and to the gleeful amusement of the quietly watchful jiu-jitsu community, there will be lots of public hostility involved when it goes down.
The entire landscape of the Flograppling/FiteTV/F2W/3CG situation changed drastically this morning upon the monumental announcement by Daniels of McGuire’s impending involvement with Fight2Win.
“Very excited to announce that @ryanhates5050 (Ryan McGuire) will be taking over as matchmaker for @f2wbjj . Ryan will still be running @thirdcoastgrappling, and I did not buy 3CG. Ryan and I have been working behind the scenes together for the past 16 months to help each other’s businesses survive. It’s no secret that Ryan and I had issues in the past, mainly due to my jealousy of his amazing fashion sense and neckbeard and his jealousy of my awful tattoos and FUPA, but we moved past it and become besties. As f2w went back on tour, it became very clear to me that I am unable to keep up with my own schedule, and I needed help. In this industry, no one works harder than us or has a better fuck you attitude. I’m very grateful that Ryan’s partners at 3CG were open to this and look forward to growing the professional jiu-jitsu scene across the world with Ryan. #LFG #F2W #3CG”
Third Coast and Fight2Win joining forces is a collaboration that can potentially yield some amazing results, as unlikely as it may seem. The appeal that Third Coast brings is variety. Shows generally feature at least one tournament, along with feature matches and some oddities.
Their most recent event featured a star-studded tournament and a bizarre 5 on 5 matchup that pitted two teams, each with a representative at each rank, against each other. It provided a delightful mess of entertainment value.
In the past, 3CG has also featured hybrid wrestling rules matches, tag team matches, and other such tomfoolery. Fight2Win generally has straightforward MMA style cards drawing from local talent pools.
To see the two organizations join forces in any way is sure to be a game-changer for the sport. Suffice it to say, McGuire has proven to be an astute matchmaker, and Daniels’ traveling circus achieves something that no one else has: a professional look for our sport with regional appeal.
This collaboration does leave some questions unanswered. For starters: with the upcoming ADCC events featured on Flo, if the F2W-Flo relationship dissolves, will Team No Sleep still be at the helm of the production of our sport’s “Olympics”?
Also to ponder, Is this the first step of Seth Daniels moving his show to FiteTV? Given the frequency and quality of F2W events, will a move from FloGrappling to FiteTV take the competitive edge away from FloGrappling?
On the other side of things, questions arise regarding athletes competing on Flo events. In the past, there have been implications of exclusivity contracts. Could we start seeing such contracts become more important throughout the sport’s growth? If so, what steps, if any, will FloGrappling take to retain its stranglehold on the sport?
One thing is sure: this collaboration, as potentially meaningless as it may seem, could have some remarkable long-term effects on the growth of professional grappling. Ryan McGuire and Seth Daniels each bring a unique and entirely necessary product to the sport, and collaboration between the two can have a variety of possible outcomes.
Will we see potentially harmful homogeneity? Will FiteTV become the new “evil empire” in the sport? Will other organizations begin to join forces with this dynamic duo? Will Hywel Teague finally release the Red Belt Documentary?
As a fan and participant in professional grappling, I just want to see the sport flourish and grow, and I see this sort of collaboration as a potential avenue to facilitate it. This news could be the most monumental of the year thus far.
Emil Fischer is a Jiu-jitsu brown belt competitor training under Pablo Angel Castro III at Strong Style MMA in Cleveland Ohio. An avid writer and competitor, Emil has amassed an extensive competition record. Most notably, Emil is a 2 time gold medalist at the IBJJF No Gi Pans, and has a submission victory record of 5-1 at Fight To Win Pro which includes purple belt no-gi light heavyweight championship