My pick for Tournament of the Month is the Samurai Jiu Jitsu Pro Tournament.
The Samurai Pro was held at The Walter Pyramid at California State University, Long Beach. The Walter Pyramid serves as the current home of the IBJJF’s World Jiu Jitsu Championship, and has served as the site for ADCC, and other grappling events. The facility is spacious, well lit, and very accommodating.
Fabricio Werdum of Strikeforce fame, and Gilberto from Jiu Jitsu Pro – Gear collaborated with sponsors to put on the event which provided prize money to division medalists.
Felicia Oh (Grappling Superstar), and Nam Pham (Rising MMA star, and TUF alum) provided color commentary for the event.
Many Black Belt fighters graced the mats including Rubens “Cobrinha” Charles, Andre Galvao, Romulo Barral, Antonio Braga Neto, Joel Tudor, Clark Gracie, Kayron Gracie, Bill Cooper, and Joao Assis, to name a few.
(Picture Gallery is after the Author bio)
Notably missing in attendance was Kevin Casey from the Rickson Gracie Center. Kevin’s name appeared on the brackets, and his performance was highly anticipated, but he was unable to attend for reasons unknown to this reporter.
In the Purple belts, Jeff Obar (Purple belt-Novaes BJJ) caught this reporter’s eye as a talent to watch for in the future.
Both Werdum, and Gilberto were ever present, minding over all of the important details. Gilberto showed great concern that the event was presented in a manner that would be pleasing for spectators that attended the event, those watching the live streaming event, and for those who would later buy the DVD that would be made available. Meanwhile Werdum was sure to be available to everybody. Werdum could be seen handing out medals for hours to many participants in the kids divisions, and on up. Many attendees were still offering Werdum congratulations for his tap out victory over Fedor Emelianenko, and he graciously received them all.
For as large as an event as this was it had the cozy feel of an old school, SoCal tournament. When the DVD is available go out and get it from Jiu Jitsu Pro Gear, and don’t forget to compete in, or attend the event next year!
Train well. Be well.