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ADCC Organizer Mo Jassim On Why ADCC Doesn’t Increase Athlete Pay, Who is Financing CJI

ADCC Organizer Mo Jassim On Why ADCC Doesn’t Increase Athlete Pay, Who is Financing CJI

In an exclusive interview with Ag. Fight, Mo Jassim, the organizer of the ADCC (Abu Dhabi Combat Club) World Championship, shared exciting details about the upcoming 2024 event, highlighting new developments and key athletes to watch.

Venue and Audience Growth

The ADCC 2024 will be held at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, a venue that Jassim considers “one of the nicest stadiums.” He emphasized the importance of attracting a broader audience beyond just Jiu-Jitsu fans. “If we want to grow grappling, we have to pull people from outside the sport,” Jassim noted. The event sold 6,400 tickets within 30 minutes of going live, with an expectation of a full house of 14,000 attendees.

Changes in Competition Format

To enhance the competition, Jassim mentioned several changes, including larger mats to prevent fighters from going out of bounds and a faster-paced event. “Bronze place matches will be on three mats, and we’ll use three mats in the absolute division as well,” he detailed. This year will see 105 competitors, with the addition of a women’s absolute division.

Meanwhile, Craig Jones has sent shock waves throughout the Jiu-Jitsu world, by officially announcing his Craig Jones Invitational (CJI) tournament for the same date as ADCC 2024.

The tournament itself is going to have a $2 million cash prize spread out throughout two divisions, and some athletes such as Ffion Davies, Mason Fowler, Nick Rodriguez, Takett bros, Jozef Chen and Luke Rockhold have already made the switch from ADCC to CJI.

Jassim also did a Live on the ADCC Instagram channel, where he discussed his thoughts on several pressing issues in the grappling community. He discussed the implications of the Craig Jones Invitational (CJI) being held on the same weekend as the ADCC Worlds, the reasons behind ADCC’s athlete compensation structure, and the financial backing of CJI.

On CJI being held on the same weekend:

I see all these comments, and to be honest, some of them make me laugh. Even the memes. Talk is cheap, okay? At the end of the day, you’ve got to produce. I know what we can do. I know what we’re going to bring in August.

If anyone wants to go head-to-head, I will never back down from the challenge. All this has done is motivate me. I work best at this rate. So, let’s go. Let’s go toe to toe, and we’re going to see, okay?

I know what we can do and what we’ve been doing. If anyone wants to do it, no problem at all. I still think it would have been better if they did it the week after, but if not, that’s okay.

CJI and ADCC Scheduling Conflict: Mo Jassim expressed his concerns about the scheduling conflict between CJI and ADCC Worlds. He stated:

“It’s unfortunate that the CJI chose the same weekend for their event. It puts unnecessary pressure on athletes and splits the audience’s attention.”

He emphasized the importance of coordinating major events to avoid such conflicts, which can detract from the success and viewership of both events.

The ADCC is focused on maintaining the prestige and competitive nature of the event. While the athltees desire  higher payouts, ADCC provides a platform where the best can compete without financial constraints dictating participation. For many people, the ADCC is more about the honor and recognition that comes with winning rather than the financial rewards.

Athlete Compensation at ADCC: Addressing the topic of athlete compensation, Jassim explained why ADCC doesn’t pay athletes more money:

“The owner of ADCC (Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Zayed) has never made a dollar from this you know it’s funny because like you know he’s supported this how long now 26 years with nothing in return so that’s number one. It’s not profitable for me personally I’m still down at least a half a million since I’ve joined the sport. The good news is this at ADCC 2017 we had 800 people. Then 2019 we went to 4,000. 2024 we sold 6,400 tickets in 30 minutes this is called growth
this is going in the right direction in my eyes.

Financing of CJI: When asked about who is financing the Combat Jiu-Jitsu Invitational, Jassim provided some insights:

“That’s a great, that’s a big question. Uh, I know they’re trying to hide it, but we’ll see. Maybe. I know, bro (smiles). Let me tell you one thing though. I’m not talking about the athletes here. Some of the dirtiest [ __ ] I’ve ever seen comes from this sport, and I’m not talking about athletes. Even recently, about this whole thing, I have caught someone who literally kisses my ass every time we talk for no reason. I don’t know why, and then tries to go and do dirty [ __ ] behind my back.

But I love those moments because when I get to confront them face to face, it’s worth it. So that’s all I’m trying to say. And, uh, this for Zuckerberg funding Craig Jones? I don’t think so. Why would he do that?