IBJJF Announces Guidelines for New Pro League

Collin Van Ooyen / September 21, 2012 - 6:43pm

The International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation has taken a significant step towards debuting its first ever Pro League event by officially announcing the framework under which the league will operate. In a recent release from the IBJJF, the organization outlines the new league’s scoring system, rulebook, rankings, qualifying stipulations, and broadcast details.

The inaugural event, scheduled for December 8th, will be held in Long Beach, California, and will feature four weight classes: -64 kg, -76 kg, -88.3 kg and +88.3 kg. Spread out over those divisions, are some of BJJ’s most prominent names such as Rodolfo Vieira, Sergio Moraes and Rafael Mendes. Competitors will be awarded $5,000 for each round of the tournament that they win, and a $20, 000 bonus goes to the tournament champions.

The Pro League rankings will be determined by a points system that is based on top three finishes at IBJJF tournaments. Fighters can earn the most points with first place finishes and the bigger and more recent the event the more it is worth. Here’s a breakdown of what the formula for scoring will look like:

Standings Value
Open Class Division:
1st Place = 13.5 pts
2nd Place = 4.5 pts
3rd Place = 1.5 pts

Standard Weight Divisions:
1st Place = 9 pts
2nd Place = 3 pts
3rd Place = 1 pt

Event Value
Worlds = 7x
European, Pan Ams = 4x
Brazilian Nationals = 3x
American Nationals, South American Nationals, Asian Open =2x
International Open = 1x

Year Value
2012= 3x
2011= 2x
2010= 1x

So the formula looks like this:

Standings Value X Event Value X Year Value = Total Pro League ranking points.

Qualifying for the top ten is dependent on your results throughout the year, but IBJJF organizers have thrown in a twist to make it more interesting. A select amount of spots from each division will be determined at the Long Beach Fall International Open, on the same day as the start of the Pro league, inside the same venue. If that isn’t the recipe for some juicy drama, I don’t know what is.

There is still time to jockey for position in the tournament, with the Asian Open and London International Open events still standing between now and the start of the Pro League. The current rankings are as follows:

Over 88.3 kg
1. Rodolfo Vieira
2. Bernardo Faria
3. Marcus Almeida
4. Leonardo Nogueira
5. Nivaldo Oliveira
6. Antônio Carlos Barbosa Jr.
7. Antônio Braga Neto
8. Alexander Trans
9. Rodrigo Cavaca
10. Alexandro Ceconi

Under 88.3 kg
1. Otávio Sousa
2. Rômulo Barral
3. Claudio Calasans
4. Sergio Moraes
5. Rafael Barbosa
6. Bruno Artunes
7. Lucas Leite
8. Marcelo Garcia
9. Rodrigo Fajardo
10. Victor Estima

Under 76 kg
1. Rafael Mendes
2. Leandro Pereira do Nascimento
3. Michael Langhi
4. Bruno Frazatto
5. Samir Chantre
6. Lucas Lepri
7. Johathan Torres
8. Augusto Lopes Mendes
9. Rubens Charles Maciel
10. Gilbert Burns

Under 64 kg
1. Bruno Mafacine
2. Caio Terra
3. Guilherme Mendes
4. Ary Farias
5. Laércio Fernandes
6. Pablo da Silva Santos
7. Rafael Freitas
8. Carlos Vieira Holanda
9. Daniel Beleza de Andrade
10. José Thiago da Silva Barros

Matches will be governed by the official IBJJF rules, so competition wise there will be little difference from standard BJJ events. But what may be a small step for Brazilian jiu jitsu practitioners, counts as one giant leap for Brazilian jiu jitsu as a sport. The inaugural event will be broadcast live at IBJJFtv.com, meaning that media coverage can reach more people than ever.

The greater effects of this new league may not be felt immediately, but it could serve as a catalyst to propel the sport to greater heights. The added exposure should help in developing international interest as the IBJJF pushes for a potential spot as an exhibition event at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and full inclusion by 2020.