On July 12, now a month ago, you read here on GRACIEMAG.com that negotiations were underway for a match that could rattle the foundations of the sport.
Rubens Cobrinha and Rafael Mendes were called on by a group of investors spearheaded by Bray Deavours to take part in a match without time limit, to the finish, with a ten thousand dollar purse going just to the winner.
On the 14th Cobrinha accepted the proposal via GRACIEMAG.com. On the 15th, though, Rafa made contact and advocated greater value for fighters, indicating the purse was south of desireable.
To bring the soap opera to a close or at least to inform readers of the scenes from the next chapter, GRACIEMAG.com contacted Bray, who has been dividing his time between time at the gym with his full-time duty as a father. None of that kept the American from forging ahead in his project of seeing a no-time limit match between two sterling stars.
Royler in for Mendes perhaps? We passed the question on the to the group of investors’ spokesman in the project. Here goes!
Kron vs. Sergio, Marcelo vs. Pablo, Kayron vs. Tererê and some others (matchups) have been tossed around” Bray Devours
Bray, is there a plan B should Rafael Mendes flat out refuse the no-time limit match against Cobrinha? Some have suggested Royler vs Cobrinha here on GRACIEMAG.com.
I’ve talked with some of the other investors and there is continued interest in seeing this format out there. We’ve been talking about it but everyone is covered up with their day jobs and we haven’t been able to get together and brainstorm too many other compelling matchups. Kron vs. Sergio, Marcelo vs. Pablo, Kayron vs. Tererê and some others have been tossed around, but nothing concrete. I know everyone is thinking about it individually, but we would love to have some additional outside input. Maybe GRACIEMAG can help here. I’ve heard from Cobrinha’s manager that he loves the idea and would be game for someone else. As a fan, I would love to see Royler compete but I don’t know if I could raise enough money to get him to come out of retirement. However, you never know and with Cobrinha being interested in another matchup in his weight class if the opportunity presented itself, something could happen.
Since Mendes’s refusal, are you guys considering changing the purse format, perhaps paying the loser something or upping the sum?
There has been a lot of talk all over the place about changing the format and we’re open to whatever works. Right now, we don’t see the sum getting too much higher because it is still an unproven concept. Andrew Smith of US Grappling has run some submission-only tournaments and it seems to be a big hit with the competitors, but we need to see how it works with the pros before we can up the purse.
I liked the idea of winner takes all, but it is probably better to offer a show and win purse. That way our athletes won’t walk away empty handed for all the training that they do. That is probably the fairest way to offer a match between two world-caliber athletes and something that may get them interested.
In the end, who is the group of American investors that came up with the idea? How do you, for example, make your living?
I alone am responsible for the idea. It’s been turning over in my mind for a while but I never really did anything about it. Around the Pans I reached out to other businessmen that I train with, bounced it off them, and a few of them said that they would put some money into it. As for me personally, I used to be in real estate but I’ve had to reinvent myself a little bit lately. Still doing a little real estate but looking for other opportunities, running a few small businesses, and researching for my doctorate. Hoping that this submission format takes off and everyone, but especially the fighters, could make a little money through Jiu-Jitsu.
Do you believe the no-time limit match may still happen between Cobrinha and Rafael?
Right now I don’t foresee this matchup happening. I know our heroes make their living off of teaching and seminars with the occasional tournament for prize money, and we don’t want to interfere with that, but I know of no other venue where they can make this kind of money for a single match.
I have seen on the internet some teachers saying something to the effect that until we pay these athletes what they are worth we won’t see these matchups happen. The problem is nobody (from critics to supporters) has presented a figure of what sum of money that is. Until we know that, we can’t build another business model around it to see if it is feasible.