Jiu-Jitsu: IBJJF Failing As An Organization?

By no far stretch of the imagination am I a fan of the IBJJF. They charge too much for their tournaments and give very little back to their competitors. There is widespread and reasonably well documented corruption, and they are inflexible with their competitors. But they are the biggest and the best game around…

There have been a few articles posted by other sites discussing the IBJJF’s corruption and impending decline, specifically this 2013 article published by BJJee and this recent article by Bloody Elbow

The reality is that no one else has stepped up to the plate quite like the IBJJF has. At this point the very highest level of competition takes place at IBJJF events. The only other organization that comes anywhere close to the prestige and respect is ADCC, which also pays generous prize money to its competitors.

The Bloody Elbow article offers a lot of examples of how the IBJJF has failed as an organization, but regardless of its failures and iniquities top level competitors still flock to California every year for the Mundials and the Pans, and the only way I see that stopping is if the IBJJF goes out of business.

BJJee’s 2013 article details several allegations of corruption and various ways the IBJJF has been dishonest. However, these allegations are made entirely by one person, Matt Phillips, with a statement by Fabio Santos that doesn’t necessarily ALLEGE anything but draws into question the very construct of the IBJJF…

There is no question in the mind of anyone critical that the IBJJF has some major, potentially deal breaking issues. Clearly, high level black belts shouldn’t be paying to compete, if anything they should receive some amount of prize money from organizations for which they compete, and many organizations have come and gone over the years that pay athletes generously.

Unless the jiu jitsu community as a whole boycotts the IBJJF, they will continue to operate as they always have. On the upside, IBJJF tournaments are well run, the prestige associated with winning any IBJJF event at any belt level is important to competitors and if a high level black belt really wants to test his or her mettle, the IBJJF generally is the place to do it.

It is up to us as a community to decide if the misdeeds that the IBJJF has committed are enough for us to put our collective foot down, or if we will merely accept a corrupt greedy organization as the ultimate authority over who is a “world champion.”

If I were a betting man, I’d say that 5 years from now, people will still be complaining about the IBJJF, and the IBJJF will still not be paying their highest level athletes what they are worth. ADCC will still be a high level competition, but IBJJF will at the same time be the largest organization. I kind of hope I am proven wrong.




Emil Fischer is an active blue belt competitor under Pablo Angel Castro III training with Strong Style Brasa and is sponsored by Pony Club Grappling Gear and Cruz Combat. For more information, other articles, and competition videos check out his athlete pages at www.facebook.com/emilfischerbjj www.twitter.com/Emil_Fischer and https://instagram.com/emilfischerbjj/


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here