Sport jiu jitsu has exploded in popularity recently. Tournaments have been popping up all over the world. So this begs the question, when will jiu jitsu officially become a professional sport? Sure, some tournaments do offer prize money, but it is not usually a large amount. Metamoris and Polaris have taken a step in the right direction by broadcasting reasonably priced pay per views online, but there is still a long way to go. Here are three steps that would help get jiu jitsu to the next level.
- Getting Jiu Jitsu on Television
Copa Podio in Brazil has had some success with getting jiu jitsu on television. Yes, the online pay per views are fine for the hard core crowd, but to appeal to the masses, more exposure is needed. If we could get jiu jitsu on TV in the United States, the popularity of the sport would grow even more. Not to knock MMA, but some find it too brutal for their liking, and this could be an alternative for them. If fishing and poker can get on ESPN, I believe that jiu jitsu will eventually get its chance to shine on the big stage.
- Cultivate More Stars
In individual sports like this, star power is very important. Metamoris has been very successful using star power to attract viewers. Their hype videos are absolutely amazing and do a great job of introducing these elite athletes to the viewers. Making people care about these athletes is vital to professionalizing the sport. Having MMA fighters cross over in to jiu jitsu is also a great thing. Even though some jiu jitsu snobs do not like it, it brings new fans over from the MMA world. Just like in MMA and boxing, stars sell.
- More Money
One of the reasons that BJJ stud Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza left jiu jitsu competition was because of the lack of money. If athletes are not offered more money, they will follow Souza to MMA. I’m not saying everyone who competes should get paid, but the likes of Keenan Cornelius and Andre Galvao shouldn’t have to teach, as well as compete, in order to pay the bills. If the pay goes up in jiu jitsu, a lot of problems will be solved.
The most important step would be securing a television deal. If that happens, the other two steps will be much easier to achieve. If all of these steps can be completed, BJJ will finally get the exposure it really deserves!