Thursday, April 09, 2009


Kid Peligro Jiu-Jitsu News . . . Carlao Santos the man behind the World BJJ Pro
Submitted by:Kid Peligro / Sr Editor

Carlos Santos with HHSheik Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan

Is Abu Dhabi the future of BJJ?
Several years ago grappling history took a turn for the better as the visionary Sheik Tahnoon Bin Zayed al Nahyan created a whole new sport called Submission Fighting now history is about to repeat itself as Sheik Tahnoon's older brother Sheik Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan joins forces with Brazilian Carlos Santos to create the Professional BJJ league

We got a hold of the man behind the World Pro BJJ Carlao Santos to hear about how this came about:

KP- How did you come to be teaching jiu-jitsu in the UAE?
CS- I came to Abu Dhabi originally due to a program between Mario Sperry and the ADCC Club, at the time they sent a new instructor every month to minister classes at the Club. I came the first time in Jan 2002, then return on September 02 and have been here since.

KP-What is your training and teaching background?
CS- I began BJJ at the famous Carlson Gracie Academy in Copacabana where i stayed until Brown Belt. Then I changed to Brazilian Top Team and got my Black Belt in 2001 and I started to take care of the Gi division at BTT until I came to Abu Dhabi.

KP-Where did the idea for the Pro Jiu-Jitsu league come from? Who is backing the event?
CS- Ever since I came to AD I noticed how much support they gave to all sports always giving great prize money as well. Traditionally all events here have good financial rewards and I saw the opportunity to do the same with BJJ, then the idea of a professional league began and I formed the IPJJF-INTERNATIONAL PROFESSIONAL JIU-JITSU FEDERATION and to transform JJ into a professional sport around the World. But the event is only the beginning of the project and the entire project is supported by PRINCIPE H.H. SHEIKH MOHAMAD BIN ZAYED AL NAHYAN and his brothers like SHEIKH TAHNOON BIN ZAYED and the entire Royal family of Abu Dhabi and its government

KP- Will it be an annual event that is always held in the UAE or will it move around to different countries? Will there eventually be different leagues in each region or country?
CS- The initial project is already set for 2009, 2010 and 2011 in Abu Dhabi. In this first year we want to do 6 events prior to the main event. These events are not qualifiers as the main event is open to all. The idea of these events is to make more splash and divulge the League throughout the World and to make everyone aware of the Pro League. These events have good prize money as well. Our professional federation is more than just a federation it is also a business and we want to work hard to have the best people around us. In 2009 there will be 6 events in Abu Dhabi prior to the main event, in 2010 we are having 12. There are many people interested in having events around the world as well that have gotten in touch with us and we are studying their proposals. ..

KP- How many competitors will there be?
CS- I expect 400 competitors

KP- How many weight classes? What is the prize money?
CS- The weight Divisions are:
GROUP A: Purple, Brown and Black
65kg, 75kg, 85kg, 95kg, +95kg, Open
First place: 7 thousand dollars
Second place: 3 thousand dollars
Third place: 1 thousand dollars

GROUP B: White and Blue
63kg, 68kg, 73kg, 78kg, 83kg, 88kg, 93kg, 98kg, +98kg,
Open light -73kg, Open heavy +73kg
First place: 2.5 thousand dollars
Second place: 1 thousand dollars
For a TOTAL of 111,000 US$

KP- What are the rules?
CS-The rules are CBJJ/IBJJF official rules

KP- How are the competitors chosen?
CS- The event is open to anyone the trials are set to select fighters to the main event that will come with their expenses paid.

KP- How can someone apply to compete?
CS- If anyone is interested to compete they can contact us directly at or

KP- Will the current popularity of MMA help promote this event?
CS- Of course because when you talk about MMA you talk about BJJ and that helps promote BJJ

KP- Do you think that BJJ still has a lot of room to grow?
CS- Of course. BJJ is a 5 year old baby in real history terms. And where are we Strong? Only in Brazil and North America we have the rest of the World to conquer, we need to get organized and we have lots of space to grow

KP- Why did you decide to make this happen?
CS- I did it for my love of BJJ and the support of the Royal family of Abu Dhabi. With their support I have the financial backing to make this project a success after all it is only in Abu Dhabi that BJJ is treated and considered a professional sport. Once again Abu Dhabi is changing the course of history, first it was the creation of ADCC and now with the creation of the professional league