It was a pleasure to be invited to the Abu Dhabi Submission Wrestling World Championships. As an invitee I can tell you that I not only wanted to win but prove my mettle for being invited. I really wanted to let the officials and coordinating committee that they did the right thing by inviting me. As a representative for American Top Team at the Abu Dhabi Submission Wrestling World Championships I can arguably say that American Top Team had the two best competitors in the World in the 99+ kilogram category. After losing a close match to the current and now 2-Time Abu Dhabi Champion in triple overtime I think that is a fair assessment to make.



The submission wrestling world is a great place. It is very gracious to its winners and its losers. The competitors at the World Championships were treated like world class athletes by the other athletes and fans. The matches were strategic, tactical and methodical. It was a great tournament.

Although I didn't win the best takedown award I do believe that the spectators and the competitors know that I have a frequent flier program that one can sign up for at any time. (I just wish Jeff Monson would have signed up J )

Well here's my take on Abu Dhabi .......

Jeff Monson - Jeff Monson has my respect as a competitor. He has beaten me three times and I must say that he is good. He knows the rules, he has a good strategy and he's strong as $h!t. Our match was 25 minutes and although to some it may have been boring the fans and competitors loved it. Why? Because they understand (although I don't completely) the Abu Dhabi rules. You can ill-afford to make a mistake at Abu Dhabi , especially against the Snowman. After fighting Monson, I saw that he had to fight Fabricio Werdum in his next match. I was very concerned because we just had a 25 minute war (as it was called). The mental toughness that Jeff displayed was phenomenal. He beat Werdum and came back the next day and won. I knew that Jeff was hurting on the 2nd day because I felt like I had just been in a car wreck and I didn't have to fight again. I asked him how he felt and he said, "fine." I knew Jeff was lying because after he said it we both laughed and then he said, "I'll feel bad after I win the final." When Jeff won I was very happy for him and glad that I had the opportunity to line up with one of the best submission grapplers of all time. Jeff's victory brought Wade Rome to tears. Wade and Jeff have a solid friendship as Wade and Jeff have been training partners for some time. It really took me back to the time when I won the Olympic Trials and my friends and family were there with me. My mother and my wife began to cry, I was overwhelmed and my training partner and the person that I bled, sweated, fought, argued, laughed and cried with - Lloyd Irvin was there to share it all with me. I was really happy for Jeff and he really deserved it. Jeff is a good dude. I love being able to butt heads with someone like we don't like each other and then be able to laugh and talk when its all over. In judo I had someone like that. His name was Mike Barnes. He was a formidable foe and now a good friend. I wish the same for Jeff and I. And, if the opportunity presents itself, I'd love to line up against him again.


Renzo Gracie.... Has got to be one of the classiest people that I've ever met in my life. He is a great guy, very personable and just pleasant to be around. He is gracious competitor and a good spectator. One instance really stuck out in my mind and that is after Roger Gracie beat Jacare. When the match was over the whole Gracie camp ran over to Roger Gracie. Well, everybody except for Renzo. Renzo ran over to Jacare. It was the most beautiful thing to see. Renzo understood what it is like to be on the other end and when everyone was focusing on Roger, he was focused on Jacare's feelings. It was noticed by more than a couple of people and it was one of the classiest scenes of the tournament.


Marcelo Garcia..... is AMAZING!!! By far the highlight of the tournament right behind........

The best throw in Abu Dhabi history by Rhadi Ferguson. I do believe that I displayed the best throw of the tournament. I brought the crowd to their feet by giving Jun Ishii some serious airtime not once but twice. It will be talked about for years to come

Back to Marcelo Garcia .... Now you could not have paid me to fight in the Absolute against Marelo Garcia. Ricco Rogriguez was in a no win situation. If he won, he was a bully, if he lost, Marcelo was going to be the "Giant Killer". It was definitely a lot of pressure to fight under. Ricco did a great job but he ended up tapping to Marcelo via a foot lock. In my opinion Ricco doesn't have anything to be ashamed of, Marcelo is one of the best in the world and he beat a lot of people in the 2 day tournament, Ricco just happened to be heaviest. Ricco and Marcelo deserve all the respect in the world just like all of the other competitors in the Absolute for getting out there and going for a second round fighting.

Lloyd Irvin.... In 2000 after the NAGA Pro Am Lloyd told me that I should start doing some submission wrestling tournaments. I was so focused on making the Olympic Team that I didn't really give it any time. At the same tournament Royler Gracie told me that I should try to enter into Abu Dhabi . I didn't know what Abu Dhabi was at the time. All I have to say is Lloyd, you were right.
On BJJ ..... You will see Rhadi Ferguson at some BJJ tournaments in the near future. I'm on Project Black Belt.
As the only grappler to compete at the Olympics, Abu Dhabi Submission Wrestling World Championships, and the Brazilian Jiujitsu World Championships ...... I've been blessed to be able to train, compete, meet and speak with some of the best people in sport. I've trained with Flavio Canto, Jimmy Pedro, I've been coached by Eddie Liddle, I've learned from Jack Williams I've picked up tidbits from Kevin Jackson, Melvin Douglas, Mike Van Arsdale, Leo Dalla, Joe Moreira, Renaato Tavares and many others.
I've been coached by and befriended by people like Juan Carlos Santana, Steve Maxwell, and Cara Heads. I've talked to some potent athletes, some individuals with iron clad will and I've seen people train to near death experiences. I've truly been blessed. I've had the opportunity to sign autographs, sign shirts, belts, gis, take pictures with people who said that they admired my style, my moves and my power. I've been able to travel the world doing what I do and share my experiences with others and I want to tell you that it has been great. It's like eating a savory piece of meat. I enjoy every piece and I chew slower and slower as I see the portion on my plate getting smaller and smaller from enjoying my dining experience. As I compete now I take everything in, I more cognizant of the people, my surroundings, where I am and what I've been blessed to do. I take every email like it was run over to my house and delivered personally and every phone call as if it were a face to face conversation. I don't take any conversation, any picture request or anything for granted. I appreciate everything. I appreciate the experience.
To the people on the judo and jiu-jitsu forums I thank you for the support, to the haters, I thank you to. Your disrespect for a person who trains while you sleep drives me to cut an extra hour off of my sleep turn up the training another notch so I can be labeled as "a brute with power", "a person that has no technique", and "a natural athlete." Natural athletes or athletes with just power, or strength don't go to the Olympics, Abu Dhabi and/or the Mundials, the athletes that work hard do. Please Believe it!
What's next ..... I have a seminar on the 18th of June in Boca Raton , Florida which I hope some of you will take the time to attend. It will cover a lot of the exercise protocols and training aids that we utilize to prepare our athletes and those that I use personally. We will discuss nutrition, physiology and how these thing relate to MMA and grappling. It will be sweet. You can register at www.intocombat.com 

My professional recommendations on Abu Dhabi ..... For such a well run tournament the only recommendation that I could make is to have a rule book available to refer to. A piece of written articulation will definitely decrease the subjectivity of the sport and the tournament. In Wrestling they have FILA, in Judo we have the IJF, there is an international federation for Sambo as well and all of these sports have a well-defined rule book. This would certainly be beneficial.

I don't have anything to say about the stalling and things like that because that is dictated by the rules. And if you change the rules, you will change the sport. So do what you do, but whatever you do - HAVE A RULE BOOK!! Not some internet write up - a rule book!


Highlights of the tournament....

I asked Daniel and Kira Gracie how many days a week they practice jiujitsu they both looked at me and said, "everyday!" I said, everyday of the week, they said, "everyday!" Then we all laughed.

Somebody walked up to me and said, "You do judo?" I said, "yep." They asked, "how much no gi did you do before this tournament" I replied, "well, I think maybe 15 or 16 sessions total." Him and his friends couldn't believe it. Then one of his friends said, "man, he practices the 'real' judo." I wonder what that meant J
Jacare presented me with his jacket that he used to warmup in the tournament. I gave him my 2004 Olympic windbreaker. He was ecstatic. I don't think he stopped smiling!!
Renzo Gracie, who says "Porra" every fourth word. J
Steve Maxwell's wife (D.C.) who still looks like she's 29. I told her it isn't fair. I look older than she is and I'm so much younger J
Seeing Joe Moreira right before I stepped on the mat to fight against Jeff Monson.
Seeing Tyrone "T-Money" Glover and one of his sweet arm pieces (and no I'm not talking about a watch). Then he says, "You know how I do it."
Talking with "Victor" from the Young and Restless. His real name escapes me, but he autographed a picture for my wife.
Ferguson 's amazing takedown on Jun Ishii that will go down as one of the best no gi takedowns in history.
Finding out I didn't win the best takedown award
Watching Marcelo Garcia beat Ricco Rodrigues
Watching them give Marcelo Gracia the Best fighter award and then take it back and say he won the best fight award (for which there is no trophy) and then give the same award to Roger Gracie  

Roger Gracie's technical prowess
Finding out I didn't win the best takedown award
Some Judokas that I would have loved to see in this tournament:
Jimmy Pedro
Flavio Canto
Leo Leite
Pictures coming soon........

Remember our Training To Win Seminar is on the 18th of June ..... you will not want to miss it!!
1950 NW 2nd Avenue
Boca Raton, FL 33433

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