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John Danaher on How To Make Jiu-Jitsu a Mainstream Spectator Sport

John Danaher on How To Make Jiu-Jitsu a Mainstream Spectator Sport

John Danaher, a highly respected figure in the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu community, recently shared his insights on transforming BJJ into a mainstream spectator sport. His thoughts, featured in a comprehensive interview, highlight both the challenges and potential strategies for popularizing this martial art.

The Current State of BJJ

Danaher acknowledges the niche appeal of BJJ, which, despite its global following, remains less accessible to the general public compared to sports like soccer or basketball. He believes that for BJJ to gain mainstream popularity, it must undergo significant changes.

“BJJ, as it stands, is incredibly engaging for practitioners but less so for casual viewers. The complexity and subtlety of techniques can be lost on those unfamiliar with the sport,”Danaher explains.

Simplifying the Presentation

One of Danaher’s key suggestions is to simplify how BJJ is presented to audiences. He proposes a more straightforward scoring system and clearer commentary that can help new viewers understand the nuances of the sport.

“We need to make the rules and scoring more accessible. When people can easily follow what’s happening, they’re more likely to become invested in the matches,” he says.

Highlighting the Personalities

Danaher also emphasizes the importance of promoting the athletes’ personalities and stories. He believes that by showcasing the backgrounds and journeys of BJJ competitors, the sport can build a more emotionally connected fan base.

“People don’t just watch sports for the action; they watch for the stories behind the athletes. Building narratives around our fighters can draw in fans who are invested in more than just the technical aspects of BJJ,” Danaher points out.

Increasing Spectacle

To captivate audiences, Danaher suggests incorporating more spectacle into BJJ events. This could include better production values, engaging pre- and post-fight analyses, and creating a more vibrant event atmosphere.

“We need to think about the entertainment factor. High-quality production and a lively atmosphere can make BJJ events more exciting and appealing to a broader audience,” he asserts.

Grassroots Growth

Lastly, Danaher highlights the importance of grassroots efforts to grow the sport. Encouraging participation at the local level and providing better support for up-and-coming athletes can help build a strong foundation for the sport’s popularity.

“The more we invest in local communities and young talent, the more we can ensure a steady stream of skilled practitioners who can compete at high levels and attract viewership,” Danaher says.

John Danaher’s vision for BJJ as a mainstream spectator sport involves making the sport more accessible and engaging for casual viewers while highlighting the stories and personalities of its athletes. By simplifying the presentation, increasing the spectacle, and fostering grassroots growth, Danaher believes BJJ can reach new heights of popularity and appreciation.