The West Coast Submissions Championship went off without a hitch on Saturday, February 12th. The event was put on by Westcoast BJJ & MMA, lead by Head Instructor Don Whitefield, and hosted by the Richmond Sports Club.
The event had an excellent turnout, with over 150 participants representing a variety of clubs from all over the province. Gracie Barra made their presence known with competitors from nearly every location. Many made the trip from Vancouver Island, with South Island BJJ, Submissions 101 and representatives from ZUMA, under Adam Zugec, all making an appearance. Host club Westcoast BJJ fielded competitors, as did members from Carlson Gracie Team Canada, under the esteemed Marcus Soares.
The Richmond Sports Club was able to mat off a full sized basketball court dedicated solely to the tournament, which allowed six matches to run at one time, while still allowing plenty of room for the competitors and audience to cheer their favorites on.
“This was the best turnout we’ve had,” said Whitefield, a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Ricardo De la Riva. “It was round-robin style, not single elimination, so each participant was able to get multiple matches, so everyone got to compete and get their money’s worth. We stepped away from the point system, and went with submissions only, that way leveled the playing field and encouraged the participation of the submission wrestlers who may not have trained in traditional BJJ.”
Five-time UFC veteran and current AFC Middleweight Champion Kalib Starnes leant a hand as well, opening up his club AEGIS Athletics, located within the Richmond Sports Club, as a lounge and warm-up space for tournament participants. Starnes, currently training for an upcoming bought against fellow UFC veteran Patrick “The Predator” Cote on April 9th at the Bell Centre in Montreal, helped run the show while surveying the local talent.
“The tournament ran very well. There were a lot of competitors from almost all of the major gyms in BC. There was good sportsmanship all around and it was professionally run,” said Starnes. “We’re happy to have the facility here in a central location to make it accessible to everyone, and we’re happy to play host to these events. Both AEGIS Athletics and the Richmond Sports Club want to be involved with the development of both amateur and professional martial arts in BC, and we feel that getting all of the clubs together to compete in these events is good for the sport.”
“I’d like to thank all the clubs, especially the new clubs who came out, as well as all the volunteers from Westcoast BJJ & MMA and our affiliate clubs for refereeing and judging,” said Whitefield. “I’d also like to thank Tom and Enzo from the Richmond Sports Club for doing an amazing job. They were total pros and the tournament ran very well.”
AEGIS Athletics at the Richmond Sports Club has Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and MMA for all ages, with a great program. Members also gain 24 hour access to the Richmond Sports Club as well. For more information, please contact AEGIS at (604) 366-6311 or email@example.com, or contact the Richmond Sports Club at (604) 279-9220.