Music City Report and Video

Music City Grappling Championships Nashville Tennessee September 10th, 2005

While the Music City Championships in Nashville have become something of a Southeastern tradition, this being the fourth iteration of the event, and it was held in the same location (Franklin Road Academy) that the previous tournament and the Nashville Open have been, some subtle changes have been made behind the scenes. The Music City Championships has shifted management to the capable hand of Frank Mullis and Jason Cuberth and is now the crowning event on the Submission Fighter Grappling Circuit, which is a series of events put on throughout the Southeast, often in conjunction with Reality Fighting MMA events. The Music City as always, was to be a two day event with BJJ on the first day and submission grappling on the second , with the addition of a new "takedown division". Of course, the more things change, the more some things stay the same, as my visit included numerous trips to Nashville`s premier Irish pub Dan McGuiness as well the mass consumption of sweet tea. Sweet Tea is really a southern thing, how it differentiates from regular ice tea with sugar added is hard to explain, but trust me, there is a difference. Come tournament time, the south was still (and continues to) reel from the effects of Hurricane Katrina, and this had a definite personal effect on many of the attendees of the tournament. Some who made the trip had suffered enormous losses from the natural disaster, and others were spearheading the relief efforts. As such a portion of the proceeds of the Music City Championships was being donated to hurricane relief and a canned food drive was organized as well. The generosity and spirit showed by all in this time of tragedy exemplified the environment that always attracts me to the South. Day one of the tournament began with a Teen Superfight between two competitors who have been very active and successful on the circuit in 13 years old Matt McClendon and Shilow Pisarich. The two put on an exciting match for the crown to warm things up, and in the end Shilow earned the victory. Admittedly I`ve been more than a bit leery of how to promote youth grappling, but this match took place under the full consent and supervision of the parents of each grappler, and the promoters went out of their way to make sure the boys were taken care of. The competition then proceeded to roll through the regular divisions, kids, white, and blue and the event was also highlighted by a number of skilled purple and brown belts. The brown belts actually had three game competitors in the light/middle weight class, so they fought round robin with Tulio Perrone coming out on top. An absolute class between the browns and purples was then initiated and this time the it was Mike Rethmeyer, purple belt under Rodrigo Vahgi who would take the title. The second day of the event began with the Takedown divisions, a new concept in the submission grappling circuit in which score only counted from takedowns. As soon as the action hit the mat the competitors were stood up and tried to score another takedown. This provided some great entertainment to begin the day, as well emphasized a part of the game that is often overlooked. Competition rolled through the beginner, intermediate and advanced divisions before the Pro Divisions came up, which have always been the highlight of the Music City Championships. $500 was up for grabs in the light (under 190) and heavy divisions (over 190). On one side of the lightweight bracket, local heroes Sean Hammond and Joel Gingrey battled it out in a match that wouldn`t be decided until overtime when Sean scored the takedown. On the other side of the bracket Chris Moriarty, who had just flown in from New Jersey from participating in Grappler`s Quest the day before. Sean and Chris met in the finals in a competitive match that would see Chris defend Sean`s takedowns and leglock attempts well, however Chris was able to score dominant position and win the match on points. The heavyweight match finals came to Mike Rethmeyer and Sam Gaskin in which Gaskin used incredible pressure to grind out a win over the larger Rethmeyer. Once again the Music City Championships made for a memorable weekend in Nashville Tennessee and as always, thanks to the hospitality of my host Ed Clay I had an exceptional time. Afterwards I spent some time training at Nashville Mixed Martial Arts ( and had a great time training with a great group of guys. Full results and tournament information will be made on

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