Texas Tournament Series Profile – Grand Prix Grappling
HOUSTON, TX – Welcome to 2015 and the dawn of a new Texas BJJ and submission grappling tournament season! As the community heads into the new schedule TXMMA wanted to take the time to profile some of the organizations that you, the competitor, will have an opportunity to compete for this year. These are Texans holding events for Texans. More often than not, they have been supporting our BJJ community for some time and so we wanted to give them a chance to share their philosophies and plans with the community.
TXMMA’s latest interview is with Elbert Hebron of Grand Prix Grappling (GPG). One of the longest running tournament promoters based out of the Houston area, Mr. Hebron has been promoting martial arts tournaments for the better part of the last 12 years. Throughout his time on the scene he’s showcased some of the world’s best at his events – including Kyra Gracie, Marcelo Garcia, Ryan Hall and many, many others. More recently he’s now focused on expanding his operations to other cities in Texas, including his first DFW tournament on February 28th.
Read on for TXMMA’s latest interview with Elbert Hebron:
Interview with Elbert Hebron (Grand Prix Grappling)
Hi Elbert. Please start off by sharing some of your organization’s history and some of your own personal history with our readers.
Grand Prix Grappling / NSMMA has been promoting martial arts for over 10 years. I’ve trained in Karate, Kung Fu and BJJ. After competing in tournaments and obtaining a degree in Marketing, I had a desire to do events and acted on it. I been training and teaching in Texas for over 20 years.
I started hosting events in Texas in 2003. The events were full service karate and BJJ under one roof. I had very little knowledge off the BJJ side of the event, so I partnered with a local BJJ school owner to direct that side of the event. I truly attribute my success in this business to his mentorship.
What do you love about Texas grappling?
Man, I just love the atmosphere of grappling. I have made so many friends of different cultures. It’s unreal. I’m a people person already. People see me in restaurants, grocery stores at other events and go out of their way to speak. I can’t say I remember them all, but always glad to give them a smile and speak back.
Now you’ve been hosting this events in Houston for many years. Looking to expand?
For years my events have primarily been in the Houston area, obviously being a very large city, it has supported me well through the years. I’ve tried to host events in various parts of the city at competitors request to ease on traveling and of course traffic. My plan in 2015 is to expand to the other cities in Texas and perhaps another state
My first event of 2015 is part of my expansion to other cities. It will be held in the Dallas Metroplex in Duncanville at the Bob Knight Fieldhouse on February 28th. Thus far I have had enormous positive response about the event.
That’s exciting. Anything else you’re doing differently or focusing on moving forward?
I’m always traveling to events to just see what they do differently. It’s the same way big corporations operate. Always looking for ways to improve. Sometimes you have to make tough decisions and part ways with people who don’t have your best interest in mind. I’m always trying to improve on my customer service and appearance of my events.
What do you see for Texas grappling in the future?
For years, I have been bringing in world class competitors to my events. My goal was that they spread the word about the great level of competition that we have here. Something must have worked because now you see all the other promotions, affiliations and competitions coming to Texas.
Any message for Texas competitors, etc. in closing?
My message to all Texas grapplers is that, if you haven’t tried a GPG event then please do so. My facilities are always some of the best. I give the same awards or better than some of these traveling promotions that charge a lot of money and you don’t ever see the person behind the event. I’d also like to say in closing, thank you to everyone who has supported my events in any manner. Always want to thank other promotions that came to Texas and sent me a message that I needed to step up my product and maintain. Look for GPG to expand to other cities in 2015.