Music City Grappling Report

4th Annual Music City Grappling ChampionshipsNashville, Tennessee9/11/04-9/12/04It was the changing of the guard so to speak. On this trip to Nashville I only managed to go to Hooters once (well, it was the first stop from the airport), but managed to check out Dan McGuiness` no less than four times this trip. Tournament director, Good ol` Ed Clay of Gameness / GrapplerGear knows how to show a buddy a fun time and it`s always a pleasure to hang out with Ed and family.

There were other major changes in store as well. Once again, the biggest sponsor in the sport Biz stepped up and sponsored the proceedings providing for large cash awards to for the professional submission grappling divisions.

I`ll say it before, and I`ll say it again. If it`s on your store shelves, you need to be washing your clothes with Biz. It`s really that simple.

Also Brian Cimins of Grappler`s Quest was present as the Music City Championships became part of the RATED circuit.

Some things remained the same however, and at its heart the Music City Championships remains a two day event, per usual the gi divisions were on Saturday and the submission grappling divisions were on Sunday. The events, marking the anniversary of September 11, began with National Anthem sung by rising country star (and BJJ Purple Belt) Sean Hammond and short ceremony commemorating the troops over seas, a number of which were locals and regulars at this tournament who were now serving overseas in Iraq. Their families stood in and we`d like to take this time to remind all of our friends serving in the armed forces that we are thinking of them!

The gi divisions saw a lot of fresh face in the sport enter the white and blue belt divisions, as well as the largest field of purple belts in the tournament`s history. Standouts including Bobby Crabtree, who won the lightweights defeating rival Andrew Smith (of and Mike Rethmeyer from Rodrigo Vahgi`s who showed off some incredible skills dominating the absolute field.

In the no gi divisions the next day Andrew Smith would have his revenge as he defeated Bobby Crabtree in the finals of the lightweight division. Shawn “Spider” Pullizzano won the cruiserweight division after a long weekend on duty. Dave Ditallo and Ray Casias also emerged as winners of their respective classes

Many of the advanced participants would also enter the professional divisions, lured by the prestige of the title and the cash prize. Even if they didn`t believe they had a realistic chance of winning the division, many of the competitors entered for the opportunity to test their skills against some of the area`s best.

In the lightweight (under 190) Pro Division Joel Gingery from Memphis BJJ emerged from a difficult field as the champion and takes home the Biz $750 first prize.

In the heavyweight Pro Division Mike Rethmeyer, who had looked unstoppable in the previous day`s gi competitions, continued to be dominating without the gi. On the other side of the bracket David Ferguson of Memphis BJJ was plowing through the division in similar fashion. In what can only be described as war, Ferguson beat Rethmeyer in the finals to take home the Biz $750 first prize.

The biggest change is still to come however. After four years of successful tournament the Music City Championships has morphed into “The Submission Fighter Tournament of Champions, a full blown tournament circuit covering the SouthEast region with the championships culminating in Nashville once again. The first event will be held in Biloxi MS on February 19 in conjunction with the Reality Combat show. See you there!

Full results and standing are available at

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