IBJJF Changes Rules With Focus On Transgender Athletes & The Meregali Incident

IBJJF Changes Rules With Focus On Transgender Athletes & The Meregali Incident

The International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) has announced a series of updates to the rules governing major Jiu-Jitsu competitions worldwide.
These updates include modifications to existing rules and the introduction of new ones.

A notable change, mirroring a decision by the ADCC for its 2024 edition, is the one focused on transgender athletes. Namely, it will now be a requirement for athletes to compete in the gender category corresponding to their sex at birth, regardless of any gender transition.
The federation reserves the right to request original identification documents if necessary.



One other rule modification that’s drawing particular attention stems from an incident involving Nicholas Meregali.

During the 2021 World Championship semifinals, Meregali was disqualified after making an obscene gesture (middle finger) to the audience, following his victory over Victor Hugo.
The IBJJF nullified the result, advancing his opponent from Six Blades Jiu-Jitsu to the final, where Max Gimenis emerged victorious.

Under the updated IBJJF rules, however, if an athlete wins a match but is subsequently disqualified for misconduct (as in Meregali’s case), the victory stands – but the next opponent automatically advances.
For instance, under the new rule, Meregali’s win over Hugo would have been upheld, but he would not have faced Gimenis in the final.



The IBJJF has also introduced several other rule changes:

  • Brown and black belt athletes in both adult and master categories can now rotate in any direction during matches, a change from the previous limitation.
    This allows for more dynamic Leg Lock maneuvers, albeit still adhering to the existing cross-leg rule.
  • The 50/50 guard position with lapel grip will now incur penalties if the athlete fails to execute a sweep, regardless of whether they are attacking or not.
    This change is aimed at encouraging more active engagement and reducing stalling in matches.
  • Athletes risk disqualification if their hair dye or makeup stains their opponent’s gi.
    This addition emphasizes the importance of maintaining a clean and professional appearance in competition.


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