Now I’m comfortably past the big 3-0 (I’m 31), I need my sleep. It’s days later and I am still recovering from staying up until 3:45am on Saturday to watch Metamoris 3 live.
It was, however, entirely worth it.
Metamoris 3 felt entirely different to the first two. Gone was the hard sell, Gracie propaganda from the Gracie brothers, Ryron and Rener. Thankfully, they removed the judges and restored the ruleset to its initial form – 20 minutes, no points, vaguely IBJJF specific rules.
Despite an initial hiccup on the stream that caused a tidal wave of abuse on the Metamoris facebook page (not in any way aided by the Metamoris team posting an all-caps rage DO NOT EMAIL US WITH QUESTIONS DOUCHEBAGS), when the stream got underway, quality was crisp and clear. Zak Maxwell and Sean Roberts opened proceedings with a fairly entertaining back and forth match. I am a big fan of Sean Roberts since seeing him on the Brown Belt Kumite.
Gui Mendes came out next and was in full terminator mode. I’ve never met Gui Mendes but I would imagine if I did, he’d cause most of my internal organs to freeze then shatter in a million pieces while staring directly through my eyes and into the dark recesses of my soul. That guy is intense.
Lister vs. Sobral did not disappoint. Sobral (winner of most-high-pitched-voice-guy that you don’t want to fuck with) really brought it to Dean. Dean Lister hasn’t been submitted in competition in 17 years, apparently, which is LUDICROUS. That will do strange things to a man. Strange things like lying on your side with one arm up, inviting a veteran wrestler / MMA fighter to latch on a pretty deep D’Arce choke. Lister just seems bored by it all now. I imagine he will end up like Christopher Walken in the Deer Hunter, playing Russian Roulette and boozing. In fact that’s pretty much what he’s doing now, only he’s trading bullets for subs. Dean was puffing pretty hard by the end of it but I get the impression he didn’t take it that seriously.
Keenan Cornelius vs. some guy who wasn’t Vinny Maghalaes. (Just kidding, utmost respect for the guy who stepped in on 30 mins notice and proceeded to flatten Keenan twice with some very nice trips.) It was an interesting fight but when Keenan wanted to turn it on, he did. And when he locked up a heel hook, unsurprisingly, last-minute-replacement guy didn’t fancy having most of his tendons severed, and tapped out nice and early.
Rafael Mendes came out next to face Clark Gracie. Clark’s gameplan was, clearly, AVOID THE FUCKING BERIMBOLO. And he did very well indeed. Not many people in the world can stand up to the relentless back attack of the man who is probably one of the greatest jiu jitsu fighters walking the planet today. But Clark did, and caused Rafa to actually work up a sweat in a match, something that hasn’t actually happened since 1973. (Not really.)
With a string of entertaining matches in the books, the main event was up next. I can only imagine the insane amount of pressure both athletes must have felt leading up to this bout. Such a long time in the making and with so many eyes on both competitors, so much potentially riding on it. To see Eddie coming out with the Scramble logo on his back sent shivers of excitement up my spine. I also spotted Jean Jacques Machado in Eddie’s corner wearing the Eddie Bravo T-shirt we made – that too was a huge thrill. I am a massive fan of Jean Jacques.
You’ve all seen the match – it was epic. The beginning looked similar to the first bout with a very flexible Royler doing a knee slide pass from hell on Eddie, but the moment Eddie got that first electric chair sweep, I was up and jumping on my sofa with excitement. The match carried on like that, backwards and forwards, with Eddie doing the majority of the attacking, and Royler’s flexibility the only thing that stood between him and the total annihilation of his groin and knees.
Eddie had Royler so badly locked up at the end, I think that if he were a vindictive or even violent person, he could have twisted Royler’s knee right round the wrong way, Imanari-style. I am thankful that he didn’t. As it was, the end of the bout was nothing but good vibes – tremendous relief on the faces of both competitors, and an overwhelming sense of positivity and achievement.
That was, until Ralek Gracie lumbered into view (complete with bizarre Japanese elementary schoolboy outfit) and took to the mic to mumble something about a rubber match. You could see the entire place collectively groan with a marketing-weary sigh – give it a rest, buddy. Two men had just poured their heart and souls into a bout and your only response is to follow the dollar signs in your eyes and ask them to do it all over again. No thank you.
Despite that little setback, it was by far one of the most exciting things I have ever watched live, even more enjoyable than most of the UFCs I have watched. I can’t wait for the next.
There was also some shenanigans between Royce and Eddie after the fight, detailed by Fighters Only magazine here. Personally I used to be a massive Royce fan, but after his second bout with Sakuraba and the general weird attitude he seems to have these days, I am much less of a fan.