UFC Fan Expo Part I: Grapplers Quest Tournament

Posted: August 31, 2010 in Local MMA, Marketing, UFC

I spent my entire day on Saturday at the Grapplers Quest tournament at the UFC Fan Expo.  This was by far, the best part of the convention.   From 10 am-5 pm some of the country’s best grapplers across every age group and belt collided in the bottom level of the Hynes Convention Center.

Following many of the schools here in Boston it was great to see representation from Bestway Jiu Jitsu, Kimura BJJ, and WaiKru among others.  This tournament was no joke.  I was blown away by the level of competition.  When you see a flying armbar in the children’s division you know you are seeing some of the best in the sport.

The Cobra Kai Award: The school spirit award definitely goes to Kimura BJJ.  The school came out in mass (no pun intended).   Not only did I see a Kimura gi in almost every section of the floor during all competitions there was no missing their supportive teammates.  The entire school arrived in matching t-shirts and chanted “Ki-mu-ra! Ki-mu-ra! Ki-mu-ra!!” during each match.  It was an impressive feat of unity, team love and as a marketer – I definitely saw the value in how the promoted themselves.  I would be shocked if a few people didn’t wander their way to their schools after this impressive showing.

UFC presence: I was disappointed in how few UFC personalities made their way to the tournament.  Eddie Bravo, LHW Champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and “The Pit Bull” Thiago Alves appeared to be the only fighters who took a moment to check out some grappling action.  Although Rua and Alves clearly made these quick walk throughs, Bravo remained there for most of the day.  I’ve always been a fan of Eddie Bravo but this solidified it.  He walked the floor, met with fans and seemed to take a genuine interest in the competition.

The ‘Super’ Fights: It was great to see that the program busted out some Super Fights for the fans, but all-in-all we only really needed one.  The battle between Rolles Gracie and Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu was an amazing display of grappling and well worth the trip for anyone that watched it.  For those wondering what the result was, “Cyborg” remains undefeated 11-0 at Grapplers Quest.

The Marketing: Although typically I love seeing brands cram their way into the sport, I was very happy to see that this was not the case during Grapplers Quest.  The brands were relegated to the back of the expo t-shirt and were not plastered all over every inch of the competition.  The fine folks bringing the competition this year included: Revgear, Bad Boy, Gameness, Zebra Mats, Manto, Grappling Radio.com, LiveGrappling.com, GrapplingAutism.org, Fighting Cancer with Andre Margutti, Hope AutismRadio.org, and Grappling.TV.

This was my first visit to a Grapplers Quest event, but it certainly won’t be my last.  If you went to the event, what were your thoughts?

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