The Ohio Pro Am

The Ohio Pro Ams will be noted for excellent organization, fairness enforced throughout the day and top notch competition. I probably should have looked at my itinerary a bit more closely because I left California at 9:30 AM and four connecting flight and (two delays) later I touched down in Ohio at 3:30 AM the next day. You know what, it was worth it however as the Ohio Pro Ams was a great tournament and in once event promoters Mike Patt, Jorge Gurgel and Dustin Ware have already established the top event in the state. The Ohio Pro Ams will be noted for excellent organization, fairness enforced throughout the day and top notch competition.

The day began with the BJJ tournament and a had a large number of kids, white and blue belts entering. The Pro Gi divisions were initially supposed to be higher belts only, but a last second change saw the brackets open up to purple and in some cases blue belt competitors, which made things interesting to say the least. In the Heavyweight bracket Dustin Ware got his redemption from an earlier loss to Mike Yanez by taking first place honors with teammate Tim Dunlap.

The lightweight gi division had Renzo Gracie black belt Shawn Williams and Gracie Barra`s Pedro Brandao and a bunch of hungry blue and purple belts eager to test themselves. Both Shawn and Pedro won their first matches handily, but a shocker came in the second round when a very determined purple named Chris Jones matched against Brandao. Pedro seemed to dominate the match at first, taking positions at will, but Jones hung tough and when Pedro got careless snatched up a tight kneebar that Pedro could not escape from. Pedro grimaced but was forced to tap when his knee clearly popped. In the finals the red hot Jones was stuffed by Shawn Williams, who take the lightweight title and the prize money sponsored by Biz / Oxydol.

Then came time for The Biz / Oxydol $3000 challenge, which is a fun event where an audience member is selected to go against the Biz/Oxydol sponsored fighter. If the audience member can survive 8 minutes without getting tapped (6 minutes if under 200 pounds) he wins $3000! In this case the Oxydol challenge fighter was Mike Whitehead from Team Miletech, who among his impressive resume is a NCAA wrestler and Abu Dhabi trials champ. The lucky participant was well under 180 pounds and competing in the beginning division, but for $3000 he sure as heck gave it his best shot, resisting Whitehead`s initial takedown attempt. Whitehead drove forward however and got the takedown demonstrating his power by lifting his opponent high in the air before gently putting him down on the mat, then quickly spun around for the key lock. Biz / Oxydol gave Whitehead $1000 for the exhibition, and for entertaining the crowd, the audience member received a consolation prize of $300. As we`ve stated many times in the past, Biz / Oxydol is one of the greatest sponsors EVER in this sport, if you`re washing your gi or shorts in anything else then what the heck is the matter with you? (Biz is the national brand and should be available in a store near you, while Oxydol is a largely Midwestern product).

Quite a few the BJJ competitors also took off their gis for the submission grappling event later in the day. In addition to the fact the Midwestern States definitely has a great jiu-jitsu scene, the level of wrestling is second to nowhere, thus there are some very competent submission grapplers evident throughout all of the divisions. The professional divisions, spurred on once again by the sponsorship of Biz / Oxydol, were absolutely stacked with talent.

The lightweight division was full of worthy competitors. Pedro Brandao returned to the competition despite obviously being hurt and quickly dispatched his first opponent, before losing by triangle to wily brown belt Robin Giesseler, who looked impressive throughout the day. In the meantime Shawn Williams continue to dazzle (as he parents drove from nearby Indiana to watch). The finals were a technical battle between Giesseler and Williams that saw Williams once again victorious. In taking both professional divisions he entered nice guy Shawn puts on one of the best performances of his career and throughout demonstrated that his skills in advancing position (and taking the back) make him among the elite American grapplers.

The surprises of the day continued in the heavyweight division, as tournament favorites Mike Whitehead and Wade Rome went out in the first and second rounds respectively (Wade receiving a nasty ankle injury defending a takedown). The finals were between two relatively local grapplers in Josh Hendricks and Brian Van de Walle, who each displayed an impressive acumen of wrestling, positioning and submission knowledge. It was Hendricks wrestling ability that made the difference in the exciting finale to a great day of grappling.

Much thanks to Mike Patt, Jorge Gurgel and Dustin Ware for organizing this event and giving the grapplers in Ohio and the Midwest a fine event they deserve. Extra special thanks goes to Bix / Oxydol for their continued support and enthusiasm for our sport. Plans are tentatively set for the next Ohio Pro Am in December, and OntheMat will be there for sure.


No Gi Divisions


Heavy Weight 175 & Above

1) Josh Hendricks 2) Brian Van De Walle 3) Rob Masko 4) Wade Rome

Light Weight 174.9 & Below

1) Shawn Williams 2) Robin Giesseler 3) Brian Atterson 4) Pedro Brandao


Heavy Weight 216 & Above – Advanced

1) Bryan Hensley 2) Guy Chambers 3) Dustin Ware 4) James Dishang

Light Heavy 201 – 215.9 Advanced

1) Travis Traylor 2) Bommer Knight 3) Dave Ditallo 4) Edward Henriquez

Middle Weight 174-187.9 – Advanced

1) Chris Lynd 2) Tim Dunlap 3) Braden Workman 4) Matt Spaulding

Light Weight 148-160.9 – Advanced

1) Josh Souder 2) Will Horneff 3) Jamie Toney 4) Tony Kovalov

Welter Weight 177-185.9 – Beg/Int

1) Daniel Beagle 2) Steven Walters 3) Tom Feister 4) Jim Troth

Light Weight 155-170.9 – Beg/Int

1) Michael Sweiger 2) Brian Brown 3) Chad Novell 4) Marcin Michaler

Feather Weight 154 & Below – Beg/Int

1) Dustin Hazelett 2) Jason Dewitt 3) Adam Jones 4) Eddie Monero

Gi Divisions


Heavy Weight 175 & Above 1) Dustin Ware 2) Tim Dunlap 3) Mike Yanez 4) Braden Wakman

Light Weight 174.9 & Below

1) Shawn Williams 2) Chris Jones 3) Dusitn Hazelott 4) Jamie Toney


Heavy Weight 175 & Above – White Belt

1) Guy Chamber 2) Scott Sheely 3) Scott Blair 4) Dennis Musser

Light Weight 174.9 & Below – White Belt

1) Marcin Michalek 2) Michael Stroud 3) Jason Henderson 4) Vince Ferrara


Super Super Heavy Weights 227 & Above – Purple

1) Mike Yanez 2) Dustin Ware

Heavy 201-213 – Blue Belt

1) Dave Ditallo 2) Marcus Cox 3) Travis Trayer 4) Braden Wakman

Heavy Weight 201-213.9 – White Belt

1) Boomer Knight 2) Edward Henriquez

Light Heavy Weight 188-200.9 – White Belt

1) Chris Slater 2) Collin Moshman 3) Dennis Musser

Welter Weight 161-173.9 – Blue Belt

1) Jamie Toney 2) Tony Kovalov 3) Michael Schweigel 4) Jerry Robertson

Light Weight 148-160.9 – Blue Belt

1) Dustin Hazelett 2) Eric Ramsey

Feather Weight 135-147.9 – Blue Belt

1) Donnie Harrison 2) Mark Connally 3) Mike Ligon

Middle Weight 174-187.9 – White Belt

1) Neal Craft 2) Travis Bailey 3) Joseph Hammons 4) Nick Robey

Welter Weight 161-173.9 – White Belt

1) Paul Bartholet 2) Phil Kennedy 3) Jeremy Fisher 4) Drew Abbey

Light Weight 148-160.9 – White Belt

1) Adams Jones 2) Alex Kaufman 3) Tony Jayne 4) Napoleon Vasquez

Feather Weight 135-147.9 – White Belt

1) Jeff Miller 2) Edgardo Moreno 3) Isaac Magdalero 4) Jen Whitcomb

Fly Weight 134.9 & Below – White Belt

1) Joe Dinwiddle 2) William Mullins 3) Scott Kinghorn 4) Shellina Wymer


1) Nigel Savoie 2) Derek Savoie 3) Kyle Crossley 4) Daniel Ferrara


1) Jerod Sessler 2) Jeffrey Benge 3) Ryan Bishop 4) Jacob Ferrara

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