I originally wasn’t going to write anything about this event since there are a lot of blogs/articles out there that have addressed this match. If you have not seen it yet, here is the match in question.
Quite a few people are issuing very harsh responses to Ryron Gracie. Many of these I do not agree with. One of the more popular charges is that Gracie was not aggressive and allowed Andre Galvao to obtain dominate positions. This should not be a surprise to anyone because that is exactly what Gracie said he was going to do in the promotion. He wanted to test all aspects of his game, including his ability to survive/defend, before initiating an attack plan.
Next, was Gracie’s controversial statement:
“The [IBJJF] medal has zero value. It means as much as this tablecloth right here, but people still kill themselves to try to get those medals.”
Other competitors had no problem firing back at Gracie for his statement.
Lucas Leite: I think this is very disrespectful. and the way his fight was against Galvao was like one rat[mouse] against one cat…
Beneil Dariush: How would he know? He doesn’t have any ibjjf medals.
Kit Dale: A guy who defends 95% of the fight is losing 95%! of the fight.. He’s not lucky it wasn’t an IBJJF match.. That’s just convenient..
I think this is a simple clash between Jiu Jitsu ideals. Gracie holds a view of Jiu Jitsu that seems to transcend competition and medals. Medals are not his focus. His focus is on education, enjoyment, and fulfillment. He does not get those things medal chasing. This is not to say there is no value in medals and championships, it is just another perspective on the same sport.
Galvao was not a saint either given his post-fight remarks. I do not condemn him for his opinion either. He was frustrated because he wanted to finish the fight. I respect and admire that. At the same time, I think we should respect and admire Gracie as well, even if his opinion is different than yours.