Brian Cimins Interview


We did this interview over two weeks ago, just before my computer took a dump ; so some of this interview is a little dated. We decided to leave the whole interview so you could see Brian’s Abu Dhabi picks.We did this interview over two weeks ago, just before my computer took a dump ; so some of this interview is a little dated. We decided to leave the whole interview so you could see Brian’s Abu Dhabi picks. The Grappler’s Quest is this weekend, so go check it out. On the Mat wishes all the competitors good luck. There are going to be some great fights this weekend. I’ll be flying out to NYC to interview some of the East Coast’s top guys on the following weekend. Everybody needs to come out and support this event. We need more events like this to keep the sport growing.


Abu Dhabi may be the premiere grappling tournament in the world, but here in the States there is a grass roots movement, which is building momentum day by day. For the first time, grapples of all styles have a tournament circuit to compete in and win cash! Here in California we had a few great things started until the Boxing Commission came in and shut shit down. Brian is looking to take his events nationally and we should all come out and support him. Jiu-Jitsu , in particular, needs a nonpolitical environment for us to compete in. Gumby& I met up with Brian while he was out here scouting fighters for the next big event. He is putting together some serious matches, so I’ll let him tell ya about them.

OTM: Right now you seem to have the premier arena in the states for submission wrestling or grappling. The events are getting very popular and you’ve got some really good guys competing. What got you started?

BC: First of all, I would like to thank you for your compliments. Submission grappling is one of the fastest growing competition martial arts in North America. We are putting maximum effort into our tournament circuit to help the sport of submission grappling to prosper and grow.

I competed in my first submission grappling tournament the summer of 1998 at Gene LeBell’s Grapplers Challenge. The tournament was organized well, but due to financial issues, the tournament never ran again on the East Coast. I saw a tremendous opportunity to replicate what the Challenge did and make it better. We started out being a single tournament and due to the tremendous and consistent draw of quality competitors, we developed the Grapplers Tournament Circuit with our flagship event, The Grapplers Quest, leading the pack.

OTM: How long ago did you start your tournaments?

BC: The first tournament I helped organize was a small internal tournament at Rising Sun Martial Arts in Lyndhurst, NJ between some local grapples from Renzo Gracie, Spartan Martial Arts, Performance Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academies, and some independents. In a small school with one mat, we drew 20 competitors and over 50 spectators. I was immediately inspired to go all the way with promotion and try to build the biggest and best event possible.

OTM: How many have you produced?

BC: We have produced 4 shows to date, some of which were co-promoted with Armando Balsulto (Tri-State Ground Control Classic). The Tri-State Ground Classic has since joined The Grapples Tournament Circuit and will be running an event sometime this summer.

OTM: You’re known for having top-notch fighters in your Super Fights. Who have you had?

BC: Ricardo ‘Cacharrao (Big Dog)’ Almeida fought a tough Sambo champion and Black Belt from Tai Kai Jiu Jitsu named Jerry Svarc (Fearless Fighter veteran). Almeida won by arm bar at around 5:00. Kenny Kronenberg (Tai Kai Black Belt) fought against Olympic Wrestler, Robert Pritchett. Kenny slapped on a toehold on the Olympic wrestler at around 4:00 of the match.

OTM: When’s your next event? Who’s fighting? Anything after that?

BC: The first event of The Grapples Tournament Circuit will be The Grapples Quest, on Saturday, March 18th at Wagner College in Staten Island, New York. The tournament will have forty-four divisions in the categories of men’s novice, beginner, intermediate, and advanced, as well as women’s, children’s, and executive divisions. This will be the first event where we start accumulating points toward the year-ending $10,000 in cash prizes.

The second event, The NYC Grappling Challenge, will be on April 29th. This event will also be at Wagner College in Staten Island, New York. Points will be awarded in this event toward the year ending cash prizes.

The third event will be on Saturday, June 10th. It will be a dual event including The Kimono Kombat Sport Jiu Jitsu Championships and The North American Sambo Championships. This event, too, will be at Wagner College in Staten Island, New York. Traditional Brazilian Jiu Jitsu rules will be used in judging the Kimono Kombat, and Russian Sambo rules will be used in judging the Sambo Championships. Points will be awarded in the Kimono Kombat event toward the year ending cash prizes.

We will have some amazing headlining Superfights at The Grapplers Quest. American Matt Serra (Renzo Gracie Brown Belt) will face Francisco Neto (Mario/Fernando Yamasaki Brown Belt), who is a native of Brazil. Both competitors are well trained in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and both have many victories under their belts. The match will be a Sport Jiu Jitsu prequel to the June 10th Kimono Kombat Sport Jiu Jitsu Championships. This is sure to be an astonishing match up for these two outstanding and technical BJJ players.

Jason Walls, Hook N Shoot Lightweight Champ, will be making his return to mixed martial arts in the second superfight match at The Grapplers Quest. He will be fighting against’s David Roy (ChokeYou2) in a long awaited rematch. Jason Walls defeated David Roy at Hook N Shoot’s Horizon early last year with a heel hook in a fast, furious and technical submission fighting battle (Pancrase Rules). It was Roy’s first professional full contact match. Jason Walls is famous for beating 5 consecutive opponents within a minute or so by means of an arm bar. David Roy proved to be one of Walls’ greatest match-ups to date, and they both look forward to the rematch. Though no bad feelings exist between these two excellent competitors, the competitive rivalry between them will guarantee an action packed match.

Zee “The Pitbull” Vjesalicu (Undefeated IFC, WEF, and Canadian Open Champion) will be competing against Maude Dull (grappling prodigy of Nick Sanzo of Grapplers Jiu Jitsu, Grapplers Quest Women’s Champion) in the third Superfight. This Superfight will be for the GTC Women’s Superfight Championship Belt. This completes the exciting Superfight card at The Grapplers Quest on March 18th in Staten Island, New York.

OTM: What are the rules in your events?

BC: Winners will be determined with a submission, referee’s stoppage, or judge’s decision (if needed).

If there is a judge’s decision, the winner will be determined by the more effectively controlling and more aggressive competitor.

The referee has the discretion to call a match for use of excessive force, i.e. competitor refuses to release pressure after opponent submits, or opponent refuses to submit and the referee believes that the submission will cause immediate damage or injury.

The referees and judges will be shown maximum respect at all times. Their decisions are final and will not be disputed.

The tournament is a single elimination tournament format.

All submissions are allowed (including neck cranks, heel hooks, and other twisting leg locks except in children’s divisions).

Gradual force must be used for all submission techniques.

If the competitors near the edges of the ring, they will be re-started or dragged to the center.

Warnings will be given for stalling. If stalling continues the referee can start the fighters back on their feet.

No biting, eye gouging (includes chin to eye), head butting, small joint manipulation (finger or toe locks), hair pulling, or ear pulling.

No unsportsmanlike conduct allowed as of observed by referee (includes spitting, use of foul language, obscene gestures, etc.).

Warnings will be given for unsportsmanlike conduct. Repeat offenders will be disqualified.

Uniforms, gis, or kimonos are optional.

Wrestling shoes are optional.

No lubricants, oils, or lotions of any kind permitted of any part of the body or clothing.

OTM: Why do you have the rules set up that way?

BC: Fairness, respect, and safety are at the core of all of our rules. We feel that our rules protect the competitors and spectators, while being fair to them as well.

OTM: Who are your judges? Are they knowledgeable about the different styles?

BC: Our judges are very knowledgeable of the sport of submission grappling. They are instructors and/or top ranking students from Sambo, BJJ, and other grappling arts. Referees include David Roy and Kirik Jeness (, Marcos Santos (Machado Black Belt), Nick Recanati (Red Belt from Rising Sun Martial Arts), Scott Sonnon (AmerRoss), Armando Balsulto (Blue Belt from Royler/Rickson) plus many others.

OTM: What was the most exciting fight you had at one of your events? Tell us about it!

BC: I can truly say that some of the most exciting fights that occurred in any of our tournaments were from a 12-year-old girl named Juliana Ricio from Shin Budo Martial Arts (Armando Balsulto’s student, affiliated with Royler Gracie and Dave Adiv). Juliana competed in the 11-13 year old division, which was mixed with boys and girls, and proceeded to defeat her first two opponents (both much larger boys). The entire crowd followed her division and cheered her on. She ended up finishing in 4th place after several more tough matches. Look for Juliana in future Grapplers Tournament Circuit Events.

OTM: Can you confirm the rumors that Matt Serra is going to fight BJ Penn at The Grapplers Quest or other Grapplers Tournament Circuit event?

BC: This would be of one of the most sought after sport jiu jitsu matches on American soil. Keep your fingers crossed. I think it will happen.

OTM: What about a Rigan vs. Cacharrao rematch?

BC: I will stay quiet on this one, but I can say that both fighters have expressed a great interest in a rematch.

OTM: What are your predictions for Abu Dhabi?

BC: Superfight – Mario Sperry 65 KG & Under – Royler Gracie 66-76 KG – Jean Jaques Machado 77 – 87 KG – Renzo Gracie 88 – 98 KG – Ricardo Almeida or Jeff Monsen (returning champ has the endurance) too tight to call. 99+ KG – Mark Kerr

I am sure we will be surprised by one of these divisions, where an unknown comes from out of nowhere and destroys everyone. That is what makes the Abu Dhabi so exciting. There are a ton of high calibur fighters and inspiring amateurs/professionals from all over the world putting it on the line, and you never know what’s going to happen!

OTM: When do you plan to put on an event on the west coast?

BC: I would like to begin planning our west coast event as soon as our first show (Grapplers Quest, March 18th) is completed. You will be the first to know, I promise!

OTM: Hey, can we see the toe video?

BC: At Yamasaki’s tournament in Virginia (last year), I witnessed one of the most disgusting injuries I have ever seen in my life. A competitor got pulled into the guard and one of his toes got caught in the mat and caused a compound fracture. Yes that’s right! The bone was sticking through the skin and hanging off. I remember sitting around the video camera/television at headquarters in Mountain View, California and everybody in the room agreed. I will save your stomachs; take my word ! it’s disgusting.

OTM: Ya but when can we see it?

OTM: Thanks for the interview Brian and Good Luck with The Quest in March!

BC: Thanks for the interview, Scotty. Keep up the great work over at Look to for results and stories directly after The Grapplers Quest, March 18th.

Well there you have it. This is going to be one hell of an event. It would be nice to get an event of this caliber on the West Coast. Hey Brian what’s up? The West Coast is waiting. We’ll have Grapplers Quest Competors interviews coming soon. later

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About the author

Scotty OTM