Referee explains disqualifying Miyao and Keenan in WPJJC

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The two brown belt absolute finalists in WPJJC 2013 were disqualified for lack of combativeness by referee Luciano Mendes. Photo:Dan Rod/ GracieMag

The fifth edition of the Abu Dhabi WPJJC was last weekend, but it still echoes strongly in conversations at gyms and the GRACIEMAG website.

Besides the big fight between champion Marcus Buchecha and Rodolfo Vieira and the invincibility of Gabi Garcia, the brown belt absolute final generated a strong repercussion.

Keenan Cornelius faced, once again, the light Paulo Miyao, until the gold medal dispute ended in unusual ways. The referee of the fight, black belt from Nova União Luciano Mendes opted to disqualify both the athletes for lack of combativeness. Keenan and Paulo had their legs tangled when it comes to the crunch.

Correct decision? Or hasty? Right or not? Leave your opinion. But before commenting, please read Luciano’s explanation for his decision to GRACIEMAG:

“Both finalists were passive and weren’t seeking for points or submissions. With this, I am bound by the rule, after every 20 seconds of inactivity, to punish them. The rule constantly undergoes adjustments, as occurred recently. It is important that all competitors read and do the courses run by the IBJJF, all referees trained by the mentioned institution are able to fulfill what is in our regulation. So my criterion was adopted based on the existing rule, as usual,” says Luciano.

With the disqualification of both, the WPJJC organization opted to raise Kaue Damasceno (Nova União), who then placed third, to the absolute title, so the athlete pocketed the first place prize offered. The decision turned out to generate more controversy over the referee, accused on social networks to have eliminated finalists, favoring his brown belt teammate.

Luciano rejected such criticism, noting that nothing in the rules says that third place would be the new champion:

“Regarding the fact that the athlete placed third became the champion, this decision was by the organization of the event and it wasn’t my competence. On social networks, there are many different opinions about the disqualification; everyone is entitled to think what they want. I repeat: I only performed what was written in the rule,” defends Luciano.

The referee now says he hopes the athletes become more familiarized with the rules, so they won’t be taken by surprise anymore: “Every athlete has to study the rule and adapt to the game. Cases of lack of combativeness must always be punished strictly and all referees are trained for that.”

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