You can’t just punch and kick your way into becoming a successful mixed martial artist. A fighter must be able to display excellence in more than one fighting discipline and usually the staple of a proficient fighter is the grappling game.
From wrestling to jiu jitsu, the art of submissions and ground control is something every fighter should have in the back pocket, even at the amateur level.
Grappling is the reason why elite, pro fighters like Ben Askren, Cain Velasquez, and George St Pierre are near impossible to defeat.
Even though grappling has been around long before MMA ever blew up, it seems that with more people interested in the world of fighting, grappling has found its own stage to finally shine on.
In comes Metamoris, one of the most elite Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitions in the world. So elite, grapplers can only compete in Metamoris if invited.
On August 9. 2014, Ralek Gracie, founder of Metamoris, put on his fourth show and stacked the card with ultra talented grapplers from around the world.
What makes Metamoris 4 so significant is not just the fact that they brought in some of the best to dawn a gi, but that they also brought in four men who either are competing or have competed in the UFC.
Metamoris brought in ex-UFC fighters Vinny Magalhaes and Dean Lister, and current UFC heavyweight, Josh Barnett but the real show stealer was the always colorful, gangster from West Linn, Oregon, Chael Sonnen.
Sonnen headlined Metamoirs 4 against well-known, jiu jitsu practitioner, Andre Galvao but the grappling match between the two was close to not happening.
Sonnen was recently busted for performance enhancing drugs by the Nevada State Athletic Commission and suspended from competing in MMA for two years.
That didn’t include grappling competitions but when Sonnen signed up for Metamoris, which is held in California, NSAC attempted to put the hammer down and threaten to fine Sonnen $250,000, per failed drug test, if he competed.
Sonnen went on to compete anyways and lost to Galvao by rear-naked choke with 6:12 left in the match. Now Sonnen must play the waiting game because his next big fight may be in court with NSAC.
Josh Barnett, who is currently ranked sixth in the UFC’s heavyweight division, took on former UFC fighter Dean Lister, in the co-main event of the night.
Barnett who is known for his exceptional wrestling skills took to the mat on Saturday and tapped out Lister using a neck crank with just seconds left on the clock. It was the first time Lister had been submitted in years.
Former UFC fighter, Vinny Magalhaes took on Keenen Cornelius in a match that was originally supposed to take place at Metamoris 3. The two did not disappoint putting a performance of technical brilliance with both men reversing positions and getting out of multiple submission attempts, fighting their way to a draw.
The night wasn’t just about the UFC fighters.
Metamoris was a spectacular card. The best of the best came out and put on a show with multiple submission wins and technical masterpieces by some of the greatest in the world.
Metamoris even surprised the crowd with a secret match between jiu jitsu black belts Jeff Glover and Baret Yoshida.
Metamoris is proof that the ground game, though sometimes boring to the eye of the casual fan, has a hardcore following and can sell fight cards, especially if they keep inviting UFC fighters to compete in their shows.
There are already rumors of UFC hall of famer, Matt Hughes stepping onto the mat for the next Metamoris card, but until then we can only speculate.
For now we know there is a polished product, that puts on a fantastic show for grappling fans around the world and at this pace, Metamoris may find the niche in the market sooner than later.