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BJJ World Championships' organizer responds to claim that Mike Fowler was robbed

There was controversy at the BJJ World Championships this year when Daniel Moraes reportedly used an illegal slam to escape an arm bar attempt from American competitor Mike Fowler. A lot of Americans complained that this was the typical type of favoritism that Brazilians received in Conferderation of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitions.

In years past we never heard a response to similar complaints. But, Denis Martins from OnTheMat got a chance to interview Marcelo “Seriema” Araújo, the organizer of the World Championships, and asked himsome tough questions:

DM: Talking about good job, well did you hear what people talked in internet about the fight involving Mike Fowler x Daniel Moraes?

MA: Yes, I did.

DM: What can you state about that fight?

MA: I think this situation was the worst thing that happened in our event. Mansur (chief referee) and I didn’t see the fight, but it is recorded and we’re going to study this. Carlos Jr watched the fight and he said that Moraes’ movement characterized an illegal one (the slam) and Moraes should be disqualified. We need to see if this was a clear mistake, and if it does, we’ll warn the referee. We’re working to develop a World system of referring fights, so we can’t let gaps for big mistakes.

By what I saw on internet, they commented that the American fighter comes to Brazil to be robbed on the mat, and it let me sad. We’re working hard and we know the effort these fighters do to come to Brazil and compete. Our intention is to develop the BJJ in the World, and if we have a foreign champion of Mundials in black-belt is very important. I’d be very happy if Fowler was champion; he’s a good fighter and deserved that. If we have a lot of foreign champions this is a signal that our job is going well due to what we make outside Brazil. Another fact was they talked this tape of the match Fowler x Moraes would be lost, but this fight will be on the dvd of Mundials 2006 and everybody will watch it, we don’t have the why to hide anything.

Admitting the mistake now is nice, but it does not give Fowler a chance to compete for the championship. Nevertheless, this kind of direct, open response is a step forward – and necessary if the CBJJ wants to attract a truly international field.

Another intresting development at this year’s championship was that competitors were disqualified for stalling. In my opinion this is a much welcomed improvement, and here is what Araújo had to say about it:

DM: Still at the Mundials, we had a lot of disqualifications this year. Do you think it will happen more often from now on?

MA: I remember three disqualifications: Carlos “Escorrega” Lemos, Daniel Moraes and Carlos Holanda and Dai Yoshioka in the same fight. I think it needs to happen and this is the future of our sport, no place for stalling. We need to attract more fans for this sport, so the matches need to have more dynamism. I think the fighters learned from this and we’ll have more good matches now. This was not the first time we disqualified two fighters in same match, at Brasileiro 2006 in Roberto Tozzi and Cyborg (semifinals), both were disqualified too, and after this they talked to us, please we’ll fight now, don’t disqualify us. Well, this was too late for this allegation.

DM: The main problem in that semifinal involving Holanda and Yoshioka was that both didn’t understand they got disqualified, mainly Yoshioka who doesn’t speak English or Portuguese either. Is there any work of CBJJ to make the things clear for fighters as Yoshioka?

MA: We’re elaborating a rules’ dvd and it will launched in all languages, so fighter will not have problem on the moment of understanding the rules

There is lots more in the interview, so be sure to check it out.

Update 8/14: The Fightworks Podcast has interviewed both Mike Fowler and Daniel Moraes about their match. Fowler’s interview is here, and you can catch Moraes’s side of the story here.

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