By TXMMA Staff // Mike Calimbas Photography
BJJ community members disagree with recent comments implying female competitors aren’t up to par with male counterparts
HOUSTON, TX – There’s been an uproar this week with female practitioners in the Brazilian Jiujitsu world. To be specific, this all came about after a recent MMAFighting article where Ralek Gracie (Metamoris President) made some comments that many found offensive. When asked about the possibility of having more women on the card, Gracie said:
“We’re spinning a wheel. We have to keep the wheel moving. I just don’t think there’s women who are really going to bring it on that level.”
Adding further, Ralek mentioned the one women’s match that has been featured in Metamoris, the one pitting Michelle Nicolini against Mackenzie Dern:
“We had that one match and it was cool, but that was more of, ‘That’s cool and that was interesting and I want to see that again if the girls are cute.’ You know how it is. The UFC wouldn’t even have a women’s division if it wasn’t for Ronda Rousey. They wouldn’t even have it. It’s a really, really tricky thing.”
Naturally, and with no public apology or clarification from Ralek Gracie thus far on his comments, many practitioners in the women’s BJJ world took great offense:
“Name one match more exciting and high-level than any time Gezary Metuda Kubis Bandeira and Ariadne de Oliveira step on the mat together,” said prominent BJJ blogger Samantha Faulhaber. “Or anything with Mackenzie Dern in it. Michelle Nicolini. Elizabeth Easton (lesser known but trust me I know from experience). There are few humans around more focused on action leading to submission. Ana Laura Cordeiro is still completely undefeated in competition. Dominyka Obelenyte and Tammi Musumeci could easily represent young scholars everywhere. There is action. There are stories. The number of women available in the Jiu Jitsu-only (non-mma) community alone that would make for fabulous shiny promo reels is staggering. Perhaps this time they could do without the forced-looking bikini shots of the Dern/Nicolini promo video.”
“There are people out there who like to bring women down, or try to at least. It’s particularly sad when it’s someone from your own community. Jiu Jitsu is supposed to be positive, we are supposed to learn how to bring ourselves and each other up. He doesn’t know what he says and how damaging it can be, especially for young girls to hear. Shameful. Idiots are everywhere and we all have to deal with them.” – Kristen Mason
“Given his incredible inability to articulate a meaningful sentence, I can almost chalk his statement down to simple ignorance and lack of education. However, given his role as a “businessman”, in today’s century, he should know that regardless of whether he harbors chauvinistic tendencies, he SHOULD NOT VOICE THEM.” – Heather Raftery
Regarding “bring it to that level,” even Angelica Galvao chimed in:
“Actually there are bunch of guys on the card that didn’t bring it to that level…starting from his brother that went up on a submission only match and was only laying down while Andre was giving a bjj show, and the worse is that together they celebrate it as victory! This is for sure not bringing on that level. It was very disrespectful.”
The list goes on and on but the moral of the story is that the BJJ community (women AND men) are no longer supportive of an archaic mentality which seeks to marginalize the contribution and potential impact of women in the sport.
With the upcoming Metamoris and also Copa Podio happening on the same day, one can only wonder about what type of impact this latest round of comments will have on actual viewership for these events.
Until then, check out some highlights featuring female BJJ competitors at the recent IBJJF Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championship last month in California.
We’ll be sure to capture even more at the upcoming 2015 IBJJF Worlds.
Photo Highlights of Women’s BJJ at the 2015 IBJJF Pans