Robert Drysdale: UFC Judges Aren’t Biased Against Brazilians & IBJJF Refs Aren’t Biased Against Americans

Robert Drysdale: UFC Judges Aren’t Biased Against Brazilians & IBJJF Refs Aren’t Biased Against Americans



Robert Drysdale is one of the first ever non Brazilians to win IBJJF Worlds. In fact he’s one of the 4 non Brazilian males to have achieved this feat.

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Drysdale’s father is American and his mother is Brazilian and additionally he’s spent half his life in Brazil and the other in the USA.

He recently talked all about his upbringing and nationality bias with the Clint Cronin Show. Here’s how Drysdale explained it:

“I have heated debates with my Brazilian friends every time I go to Brazil to the point where I’m ridiculed. They make fun of me cause I sound like I’m out of my mind when I tell them that the UFC isn’t biased against Brazilians. I believe the UFC judges are neutral. If you say this in Brazil, it’s not that they’re gonna get mad – they laugh at you. Because to them the notion is so ludicrous that they believe you’re out of your mind if you believe the UFC judges aren’t biased toward Americans.

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I have the same debate here in the United States when I tell them the IBJJF is not biased toward Brazilians. I have many Americans who look at me and laugh. And in the middle of it I’m able to see both perspectives, and I go I don’t see the buy ins I just fail to see it. I’ve competed extensively in Brazil and I fail to see it in Brazil and I think that referees have made many many mistakes in my matches but I don’t think it had anything to do with my nationality. “

Drysdale also weighed in on his view of Submission Only movement and how negatively it can impact jiu-jitsu long term:

“I don’t think money is that big of an incentive as people think it is. I think practitioners are more concerned with prestige especially when they’re in their 20s, that’s something we worry about in our 30s. In your 20s you’re more concerned about being the cool kid on the block. I’ve had this conversation with one of the head guys at the IBJJF and we’re talking about submission only and I still think jiu jitsu rules should be unified, there ought to be one set of rules and we oughta work within the system to improve it versus the splitting up. What’s happening in jiu-jitsu now – something similat happened to judo in the 1920s, 30s when it split”


Drysdale continued:

” I think that the sport loses when it happens. ” adding ” Today is the age of marketing and the internet. It’s dramatically changed everything. I think you can get anything, any idea. It can be the worst idea in the world…”

Drysdale talked about this with someone high up in the IBJJF and this is an estimate they agreed on:

“You market it well and the people will buy it. So you pump enough air. You keep pumping air it’s gonna stay up there for a while. But then laws of gravity are inevitable- there’s nothing you can do, eventually this is the point it makes it’s gonna fall, going back to submission only, it’s gonna fall exactly where it belongs…”

Drysdale concluded: “Marketing can only keep something up there for so long. And I think that a lot of what the hype has been about with submission only is largely really successful marketing skills it has nothing to do with … For example, if you keep saying it’s the most exciting thing in the world will it become the most exciting thing in the world, if you just keep repeating and you ignore the boring matches and you just pump up the exciting ones and anything can be exciting, anything can be boring depending what you choose to focus on. “

As for the sub only movement Drysdale believes this is the height of it:

“I believe they peaked already to be honest. I can’t prove this but my guess would be the sales are gone in a lot of these submission only events… The interest has gone down”



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