On March 28, 2009 SOUTHWEST GRAPPLEFEST II will take place in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After years of traveling to Quest, Naga, Pan Ams, and other grappling competitions, the founder, Dave Friedlander told PRO MMA (promma.info), “I decided it was time to start a tournament here in Albuquerque as it is a hotbed for combat sports.”

Founded in 2007, SOUTHWEST GRAPPLEFEST and the SOUTHWEST GRAPPLING CHAMPIONSHIP make up the tournament circuit of the Combat Sports Club which is run by Dave and his wife Ana and sons, Daniel, Matthew, and David.

One of the main things that separates the Combat Sports Club tournaments from other grappling events is the point system and professional league is merit based. There’s no need for an agent or manager or a resume. Everyone has equal chances of becoming a Pro and earning prize money; it is a fair unbiased system, no matchmakers, handlers or lawyers needed.

Here’s how it works: Everyone competing in CSC’s tournament circuit earns points. Placers earn points for 1st-4th which increase with each skill level. Non-placers earn some points just for competing. When a competitor reaches 5000 points he will have achieved pro-status. (See www.combatsportsclub.com/about for point values).

Pros do not pay to compete and have an unprecedented chance to grapple for money. Rather than Winner-takes-all, CSC will award smaller payouts for winning at each round of a bracket. For example: in a 16 man bracket, the 8 winners of the first round may earn $100 each. The 4 winners of the second round may earn an additional $200. The 2 semi-finalists who emerge from the third round will add another $300 to their winnings. And finally, the champion wins another $500 dollars. These amounts will keep going up every tournament.

In this example the payouts would look like this:
Champion $1,100
2nd place $600
3&4 place $300 each
5-8 (winners in the 1st round) $100 each

This idea grew out of dissatisfaction with how other organizations handled their pro divisions. They typically permit competitors from cliques and channels that they’re familiar with, charge them to compete in many cases, and award one person a winner-takes-all purse. CSC is unique in that it is fair, and rewards more competitors based on their accomplishments

Some of the sponsors that help make SOUTHWEST GRAPPLEFEST a success include Jackson’s MMA, they are the principle sponsor, as well as OTM, Gracie Barra, and MaxMuscle.

Here are a few notable names that have competed in the Combat Sports Club tournaments: Don Ortega (Gold medalist from the ’08 World Games), Ryan Gillespie (Silver medalist from the same world Games), Eric Buck, Donald Sanchez, Saif Sayud, Gerald Lovato, Adam Oakey, and Henry Martinez amongst others.

Their referees include Gracie Barra Black Belts Roberto “Tussa” Alencar and Raphael De Freitas, Jackson’s fighters John Dodson, Lenny Lovato, Damacio Page, DJ Blackwell (owner of a Relson Gracie Academy in Texas), King of The Cage competitor Adam Oakey. Other notables that have helped out include Mike Van Arsdale, Tait Fletcher, Floyd Sword, Elliot Marshall, Abel Cullum, Ox Wheeler, Donald Cerrone, Leonard Garcia.

Here is a list of some of the schools that send fighters to compete:  High Altitude Martial Arts (Nate Marquadt’s), Grappler’s Edge (Sheldon Marr), GUMM, Jackson’s, FIT/NHB, Gracie Barra, Relson Gracie, AZ Combat, RITC Training Center(Rage in the cage), Lovato BJJ (Raphael Lovato, OKlahoma), Tait Fletcher’s Undisputed Fitness, Joey Villasenor’s Team four Corners, Amal Easton’s Easton BJJ, Alberto Crane’s BJJ Academy and dozens more lesser know gyms.

If you would like to learn more about COMBAT SPORTS CLUB and their two tournaments, SOUTHWEST GRAPPLEFEST and SOUTHWEST GRAPPLING CHAMPIONSHIP, visit www.combatsportsclub.com.

By:  Jack Bratcher

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