Why the ADCC West Coast Trials Will Make BJJ History
Less than two weeks until what is sure to become one of the most important moments in jiu-jitsu history: the ADCC West Coast Trials.
No, I’m not confused. Yes, the upcoming ADCC World Championships in September will absolutely make BJJ history. And considering all that has been promised regarding its production, it will set the bar that much higher for all professional jiu-jitsu events. That’s a given.
But the ADCC West Coast Trials (aka “2nd North American Trials”) will ALSO make history. And here’s why:
Biggest Jiu-Jitsu ADCC Trials EVER
On March 15, the West Coast Trials hit a record-breaking 1,000 competitors among its five men’s and two women’s divisions. In 2019, the West Coast Trials boasted 342 athletes. That’s an increase of nearly 200%.
However, whether all those athletes will actually show up remains to be seen. The East Coast Trials had 738 registrations, but more than 230 did not show. There are several proposed reasons for this:
- Many people had registered back in 2019, prior to COVID-19. Their plans or interest in competing in the event could have easily changed.
- The location was not ideal. The closest airports were more than an hour away, with few convenient mass transit options.
- Travel costs in general were higher, including car rentals.
With the West Coast Trials being held in Las Vegas this time – the same city the ADCC World Championships will be held – travel-related challenges for most of the jiu-jitsu athletes will be minimal. Additionally, registration for the West Coast Trials has only been open since January 2022; so, most athletes are expected to follow-through on their plans.
Biggest Women’s Divisions EVER
While ADCC only offers two women’s divisions – a below 60kg and above 60kg – both divisions have more than doubled since 2019. As of early March, the -60kg division had nearly 75 competitors, and the 60+kg division had nearly 50. It wouldn’t be hard to predict the -60kg division to hit 100 by registration’s close.
For most of these women, that will be the biggest tournament division they’ve ever been a part of. Considering women’s black belt divisions, even in major IBJJF events, regularly struggle to make more than 10-15 athletes, this is unprecedented. And in fact, may give the lower belts – purple and brown in particular – a distinct advantage, considering they’ve come up at a time when women’s divisions have been the biggest they’ve ever been.
Insane Lineup of Athletes at the West Coast Trials
Head Organizer Mo Jassim has made it repeatedly clear that athletes should not expect invites to the ADCC World Championships. Yes, there will be invites, but only to those who have already proved themselves at the ADCC Worlds and Trials events.
This has created strong incentive for BJJ athletes – even the top names – to sign-up for the ADCC West Coast Trials. Not only that, but we are coming into an age in the sport where the lines between belts are more and more blurred. With the influx of young phenoms who’ve been training since they were in diapers, to BJJ savants who spend every waking day studying jiu-jitsu, the playing field is leveling. No longer are black belts the only ones at the top. We saw this already with 16-year-old blue belt Cole Abate, winning his division at the East Coast Trials.
Said Mo Jassim in an interview with FloGrappling: “To those competing at West Coast Trials, get ready to dig deep. There are high level big name competitors signed up and if you face one, go with the mindset that you are going to take them out, shock the grappling world and blow your name up.”
For sure, expect some outstanding performances and upsets in both the men’s and women’s divisions.
Whether you’re a jiu-jitsu athlete or just a BJJ hobbiest, this is not an event to miss. Ideally, you’d make the trip to Las Vegas to see the ADCC West Coast Trials, even if just to watch, but if you can’t wing it, catch it April 2-3 on FloGrappling.