Budweiser World Cup: Joe Hurst

For more information and to register for the upcoming Bud World Cup on January 15th and 16th, please visit http://www.budworldcup.com/Interview with Joe Hurst of the Budweiser World Cup.

On the eve of the third event in the Budweiser World Jiu Jitsu Championships, we decided to sit down and talk with Joe Hurst about his event and what his plans for the future include.

1)  Tell us a little about your own background Joe, and that of A & J Sports:

I started training in late 93 early 94 when I was first introduced to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu by Atlanta Georgia resident and life long friend Sok Song. I stayed in Traditional martial Arts w/ Kieth Bost and Kick Boxing with Brian Heffner who I still am best friends with and train with still today.

Jiu Jitsu did not exist in North Carolina at that time and instructional tapes where only Gracie Basics so growth was slow. I would travel to other states to go to a seminar or Kukuk came out with that series and that pretty much was my learning process for a few years. I even remember putting on long sleeves and oversalls and going out in my dad’s cout yard hear at the farm and me and some buddies would train. With in 5 years of that I was the first American on the mat in Helio Gracie’s home in Brazil. Since that time incredible Black Belts have stayed at my home for up to 3 months at a time like last years most technical Black belt Gracie Barra’s Carlos Lemos Jr. probuably one of the more Honorable men I have trained with.  I have had the pleasure of training with the likes of Saulo Ribeiro at his academy in Brazil and in my academy in Concord, North Carolina. Relson Gracie for several years who helped me alot. 4-5 years ago I was in a craze to lear the half guard so I sought out Gordo of Gracie Barra who is know for creating it doing a seminar at my academy and also trainded with him in Brazil as well. I would have to say Daniel Moraes was my biggest help though simply because he really worked to try to senserly improve my game, not just some moves or positions but really told me what I personally needed to change or do. By the way my game is in still in much need of improvement ;-).

Starting over a decade ago in my front yard of my Dad’s Farm to the mats of Helio Gracie in Brazil… to recieving my Black Belt in Sept of this year, it has been a long Journey.

Aaron Helfenberger and I got together after first years Dale Earnhardt Jr. Grappling Classic 3 years ago and started A&J Sports. I had a vision of what I want to try to do for the sport and with this event. Simply put, Aaron is the details and backbone to that. I create the vision and Ideas and he details them and we make them happen. I am very lucky to have him a partner in this event but also as a friend and one heck of a training partner.

2)  Getting a major corporate sponsor like Budweiser is HUGE for the sport.  How did you end up garnering their interest?

Obviously it was the friendship with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his getting envolved with this event the first year was the main reason and the cataylst to getting the envolvemnet of Budweiser. I really appreciate all of his help and the friendship he gave, his time is very valuable. 

3)  Why on earth would anyone want to promote a tournament!  LOL!  I always tell people it’s the roughest job in the sport!

That is a good question. I have a simple awnser, I did a few tounaments not many but most were in a middle school or old building or ran crazy. I had a vision for this event when I did the Dale Earnhardt Jr. Grappling classic and all but the running of it was close to what I wanted. I want this sport that I came to love to be give the level of class that this devestating art deserves.

4)  What improvements and lessons learned have made you made going into this year’s tournament?

I learned from the first one not only to worry about the looks of your event but the internal runnings are equally important. I also learned it is not just the top name guy but the white belt as well that deserves good fair treatment.

5)  Who’s who as far as coming to this tournament?

So far Brazilian Top Team some of their guys have committed ATT also some of Pat MIlitech guys are coming down for this one Jeff Monson and Marcel Ferriera who won thier perspective Pro divions last year are returning. Rafael Lavato Jr. recently promoted to Black Belt is coming.

6)  What are some of YOUR favorite or most memorable moments from tournaments past?

Most memorable, well not exactly my favorite would be Marc Lamion vs Marcello Clemente I ref’d in the first one after 13 hrs on the mats for me and that was a learning experience. You learn from your mistakes. My favorite was this white belt young guy in his teens but fought adult won the Samurai award we give out each year, this kid was just awesome. It is good to see that much talent in such a young and enerjetic person.

7)  Okay, why Concord, North Carolina?

This tourament, God willing, will always be here. It is something you can plan on coming to each year, trying to earn your World Title by Budweiser. I will continue to improve it as you will see in what I am trying to do this year, not telling is another lesson I learned ;-), hopefully all will see that we are making a Quality World Championship here.

8)   What can competitors look forward to coming into Concord, North Carolina (inside and outside the tournament?)

First all Competitors get FREE wings at the Hooter’s close to the Wingate Inn where all will be staying. One of the largest Malls on the Eastern sea Board is lass than 1/2 a mile away along with the Charlotte Motor Speedway. There will be packages for competitors to see what all is availble to do. There is plenty of Family stuff to do Like Jillians is giving FREE $5-$10 Game cards to FREE Pool to FREE Bowling to Arcade Games. For the more single or side you may remember the adult Dancers that came last year and drank up all the Beer then left, well they are giving out FREE pass to all thier Clubs and and will even have a shulttle to and from that will be availble from the Wingate Inn. The is also a night Club offer to to do an after party Sat night in Downtown Charlotte, so the will be alot to do as well as a day of good polictical free competiton.

9)  What’s in the future for the Budweiser Cup?

This is our third Annual event with Budweiser and we really want to make an event that makes them proud to be a part of. Each year thier involvement grows and I see in less than two years an event that will Give the well earned Pro pay that will be matched by none. A structred and well ran tourament that keeps the most important people of all coming back, the individual that simply loves this sport also. 

View the reports on the previous events (with highlight videos!) here:



For more information and to register for the upcoming Bud World Cup on January 15th and 16th, please visit http://www.budworldcup.com/

See everyone there!

TechGasp Comments Master

About the author


Gumby is the co-founder of OntheMat.com back in 1997 with Scotty Nelson.