Gordon Ryan vs Roberto Abreu at World Nogi Jiu Jitsu Championship 2018

Gordon Ryan vs Roberto Abreu at World Nogi Jiu Jitsu Championship 2018 1

In recent years, the IBJJF has become some what of a controversy-filled battle ground, with many young grapplers boycotting the events completely.

The confusing and inconsistent scoring systems are frustrating for both viewers and those competing, and the unique ruling ban a number of popular submissions.

The competition as a whole has therefore descended into a bit of a snooze fest, with may fighters exploiting the rules to gain advantages, before stalling until the buzzer goes.

This may win them the matches, but it doesn’t win them over any new fans, who turn up to see Jiujitsu at its purest and most exciting, rather than a show built on gamesmanship.

However, the 2018 event had an extra injection of anticipation, as the self-proclaimed ‘king’ of submission-only grappling signed up to take part.

Gordon Ryan made short work of many of his opponents as he made his way through the 2018 IBJJF No-Gi World Championships, winning both his Ultra-Heavyweight divisions with relative ease.

In a competition where submissions are relatively rare, Ryan picked up four in just eight matches. Naturally, the high-class fighting came with it some below-the-belt trash talk, as fans will have become accustomed to when it comes to Ryan.

Despite the sublime performances, the major talking point of the event turned out to be a controversial disqualification, as Ryan faced off against Roberto ‘Cyborg’ Abreu.

Cyborg, infuriated by disrespectful comments from Ryan during the tournament, refused to engage on the ground, instead spending his time throwing slaps towards Ryan’s face.

Abreu was eventually disqualified for inactivity and was called out by many fans online who did not appreciate his tactics.


Cyborg eventually spoke out on the fight to FloGrappling, stating: “In the past few days much has been said regarding my fight at No-Gi Worlds with Gordon Ryan. Today I want to try and set the record straight so that those who seek to pass judgement can have all the facts leading up to the moment in question.

“I am someone who has always lived the true meaning of being a martial artist and the essence of what Jiu-Jitsu is. I come from a school where your moral is just as important if not more important than your talent and technique.

“In the weeks leading up to the fight I saw how Gordon systematically disrespected not only myself but all of his opponents, attempting to mock and belittle us with his words. Initially, I took his trash talking as nothing more than that, just words.

“However, as things progressed and his comments escalated, I began reflecting on the concept of respect. What it means to be respectful and how it’s a value worth defending.

“Gordon is one of the best competitors on the mat. I have acknowledged that since he came into the scene. However, respect in our sport and in life is not given but earned. Earned on the basis of how you treat others, how you present yourself and what you stand for.

“I don’t know where Gordon comes from or how he was raised, so I cannot speak on his behalf, but I can speak for myself and explain where I come from and how I was raised.

“I come from a place where it’s not ok to be disrespectful to others, not your opponents, not your fans, not anybody. I was raised to understand that the way you treat others will determine how others treat you and vice versa. I was raised to never be a bully but to always stand against one. I come from a time where you respect family, and most, importantly women. I come from a place where a guy that disrespects women is gonna get slapped, at least.

“If in my attempt to take a stance I offended others I am sorry. I take responsibility for my actions.  I am not trying to defend them and say my actions were respectful, Gordon broke the respect when he opened his mouth.”

The debate caused by the actions of Roberto Abreu will however rumble on in the Jiujitsu world, as they have highlighted a number of issues in the sport.

The opportunity for a fighter to avoid engagement, the controversial trash-talking from the likes of Ryan, and the act of throwing the fight just to get a few slaps in are all contentious issues to be discussed.

What do you think about Ryan, Cyborg, and the state of the IBJJF?

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