Metamoris II was held yesterday in Los Angeles. I attended the inaugural Metamoris in person and was really looking forward to watching this fight card, but as the final match ended with Kron and Shinya nearly falling off the mat, I was left with a feeling of disappointment. Not because any particular competitor won or lost, but because only a few matches lived up to their potential: Nicolini vs Dern, Galvao vs Lovato Jr., and Kron vs Shinya Aoki.
The fight between Mackenzie Dern and Michelle Nicolini was brilliant. They were more aggressive than most of the men, but still very technical. The match progressed with an exciting tension that either could finish at any moment. Attacks were met with defenses and transitions; back and forth they went a torrid pace for almost the entire match. Mackenzie and Michelle are artists.
Andre Galvao vs Rafael Lovato Jr. was a great fight, full of explosiveness, defense, and technical mastery. In the end, Andre was able to mitigate Lovato’s pressure game and even showed his playfulness with a flying triangle attempt and a few quick guard pulls. Andre and Rafael are artists.
Kron Gracie against Shinya Aoki lived up to the hype. Kron is a gamer…I love that he’s all about finishing an opponent and would (seemingly) prefer to lose by points over not attempting a submission. In his performances at Metamoris I and II, he finished by attacking, by trying to finish, by letting his considerable Jiu Jitsu technique flow. Aoki is know for doing some crazy stuff on the mat and in the octagon, and although he wasn’t able to display it this time it’s there. Kron and Shinya are artists.
This brings me to my point of disappointment.
Brendan Schaub vs Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu was a disaster. I get that Schaub didn’t want to lose, but I thought he wanted to test himself and his Jiu Jitsu against a World Champion? There is little doubt of Brendan Schaub’s incredible physical talent, skill, and determination. He is an incredible athlete, but he’s not an artist.
Cyborg was there to demonstrate his ‘beautiful Jiu Jitsu,’ and he was clearly upset by Schaub’s failure to engage him in any meaningful way. Roberto Abreu is an artist.
To an artist the effort is just as important if not more so than the result. One’s actions can be controlled; the outcome can’t. How can a guy who trains with Rener and Ryron, two artists themselves, fumble the opportunity to ‘Keep it Playful‘ with a world champion?
Schaub had the right strategy to win a competition. To circle and engage on his terms, maybe frustrate his opponent into making a mistake and capitalizing on it. It could be argued that this strategy was required to have a chance at winning, but then why take the match? Besides being boring, he failed to test his Jiu Jitsu. Isn’t the point of a test to measure progress and development? In Jiu Jitsu that test is usually a more skilled opponent.
I suspect most of the Jiu Jitsu community would have respected Brendan more for having a go at Cyborg, even if he got submitted rather than running around in circles. What did we learn from the match as it went? Nothing, that is, except that Brendan Schaub has a good sprawl and didn’t get submitted…or meaningfully engage. His primary defense technique was to run away whenever threatened (which I imagine is one reason the match was no gi) rather than employ Jiu Jitsu. And what was with the hand to the throat? So much for ‘Keeping it Playful.’
Brendan Schaub is first and foremost a professional athlete. A highly trained physical specimen conditioned to win events…for money. This is not to pass any negative judgement, it’s merely a way of analyzing the event from a perspective that might rationally explain it’s outcome. A way for me to accept what I watched in a way that I can make sense.
For the professional, the outcome is greater than the effort if it yields the desired results. Winning = more money.
I’d rather watch artists compete ‘for love of the game.’
What do you think?