Ryan Hall Disillusioned with Modern Jiu-Jitsu Scene: ‘Obnoxious, Embarrassing Behavior from Grappling Nerds’

Ryan Hall Disillusioned with Modern Jiu-Jitsu Scene: ‘Obnoxious, Embarrassing Behavior from Grappling Nerds’

BJJ champion, ADCC bronze medalist and UFC fighter Ryan Hall spends his time training equally in gi, no-gi, and stand-up, yet he has no intention of returning to jiu-jitsu competitions. Disillusioned with the sport, he feels there’s no turning back, much like his shift from college to jiu-jitsu.

In a older interview, after defeating BJ Penn by heel hook in the UFC, Hall opened up about his opinion on the modern Jiu-Jitsu scene.

Though he keeps up with the latest in the sport and praises the progress of women in jiu-jitsu, Hall doesn’t see a place for himself among today’s competitors. He reminisces, “Things that were crucial to my journey aren’t present anymore.”

Hall holds a high regard for the older generation of jiu-jitsu athletes, such as Lucas Lepri, Marcelo Garcia, and Fernando Tererê, who excelled in all aspects of the game—passing, takedowns, sweeps, guard work, and finishing moves. He feels lucky to have trained in an era where mixed martial arts was the ultimate goal, and there was mutual respect between jiu-jitsu and MMA practitioners.

Ryan Hall Shrug

However, Hall is critical of the current state of jiu-jitsu, describing the modern culture as “obnoxious” and disapproving of the “tough guy” attitudes seen at tournaments. He finds this behavior, particularly from “grappling nerds,” to be embarrassing.

He recalls a time when top athletes didn’t rely on social media trash talk but demonstrated their skills and competitiveness both in and out of the competition. Back then, athletes sought to prove their superiority by mastering various styles to become more effective.

“Back then, actions spoke louder than words, and it was easy to identify the best,” Hall reflects.

Hall believes the recent influx of new events and promotions has diluted the sport, making it challenging to distinguish truly well-rounded athletes from those who are simply more marketable. He criticizes the current generation of fighters who, fueled by social media, don’t respect the hard work and authenticity that originally drew him to the sport.

“No one wants to hear empty threats. Show me, don’t tell me,” Hall asserts.

Hall strives to uphold his values as a martial artist, both on and off the mats, seeking neither fame nor fortune.