In an interview to the brazilian magazine Tatame, UFC fighter Wanderley Silva openly criticised the organisation of the BJJ World’s Championships. Well known in the martial arts after many years winning the biggest MMA events, Wand expressed his concerns for the future of BJJ.
He said that moving the tournament to California and not paying the athletes damages the sport. In his words: The fighter must leave Brasil, pay for his expenses, it is all hard and if he does not have sponsors, he must pay from his pocket and in the end he does not receive any money prize. The organisers must pay something, I do not understand why they still don’t.
In his opinion that is why most BJJ fighters stop competing in their own art and go to MMA. He also said that the fighters can not fight only for the love of the sport, people must eat, live and pay their bills and unfortunately no one can live from love alone.
Reading his interview, I must add that the organisers moved the competition from Brasil to California just for their own interest in expanding even more their business in America, without regard for the brazilian competitors. From 1500 competitors this year, only 250 were brazilians but all the black belt divisions were won by them, showing that no matter where it the comp is held, brazilians are still far ahead in the game.
It is great to have someone like Wand expressing his opinion, but it is unlikely that the organisers will do anything to change the status quo. They are getting rich at the expense of the competitors and see nothing wrong about that.
We talked about this before, but we must ask again and again until something is done about it. Where is all this money going? One person controls the brazilian, american and international federations at once, there are no elections and no transparency at all, cash flows from sponsors and competitors alike and in the end medals and t-shirts are the only prizes. The federations are run like private businesses, aiming for big profit, but taking all possible advantages and tax breaks that sports organisations enjoy. When is this going to end? Sadly we do not have the answer, but until it happens, we will express our disappointment and from others like Wand that have the guts to come out and speak against this shame.