UFC veteran Jason Tan runs the MMA Academy in Liverpool, England. After retiring from fighting he returned to his first love, jiu jitsu and submission wrestling, and started the Ground Control tournament.
The tournament has been running for several years now and is one of the top submission events in Europe. Standout grapplers from all around the continent have taken part and this year Ground Control has teamed up with ourselves, Fighters Only, to stage the ‘Fighters Only Invitational’ at the BodyPower Expo event in Birmingham on May 21st and 22nd.
FO: Ground Control has been one of the most successful grappling promotions in Europe for a while and this next event looks like being your biggest; what’s the story?
Yes we’ve been working hard this year, promoting the event, we’ve done two events so far. We’ve hooked up with Fighters Only and are promoting the first of what will be an annual Fighters Only UK Invitational. This is a huge event for grappling in the UK, it’s a two day event, taking part at the Body Power Expo at Birmingham NEC on May 21st & 22nd.
There will be a BJJ tournament with the Gi on the Saturday and a Submission Grappling Tournament on the Sunday. Both events are open to all, and I will be sending invites out to all the UK BJJ/MMA clubs this week!
FO: So how do people go about registering for the event? And how will it all work?
As with all grappling tournaments you pay to enter. But we are a bit different to some others because we guarantee that you will get at least two matches on the day. The tournament progresses in knockout format but its unfair when people pay to enter a tournament and get only one match, I think. So we offer everyone at least two.
There are two ways to pay for the event, either by paying online at www.gcgrappling.com or paying by cheque, all the info you require is at www.gcgrappling.com.
The Gi tournament will be fought by belt rank and the submission grappling tournament will have 3 experience levels. We will be offering a discount to those people who wish to compete in both tournaments. You must be early in your registration as once categories fill up we will close them, so pay early guys to ensure you get in the right weight class!
FO: What kind of prizes can people expect?
We will have a lot man! The top three teams on both days will get CASH prizes and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd will get custom-made special addition Fighters Only Medals. These are sick, trust me. On top of that there will be MMA gear prizes and we will give all the winners free entry to our next event! As we get closer and we secure more sponsors there will be even more on offer for our winners.
Also there will be UFC stars at hand to give out medals. There will be coverage from the magazine at the event. Really I cant say it enough, this is a MUST for the guys involved in grappling/BJJ in this country, you will gain a lot of exposure from this event. I can’t think of any other grappling event in the UK that comes close to this one in terms of profile.
FO: I heard a rumour you would be organising ‘superfights’ at the event?
Yes this is true. At present I have secured BJJ Black Belt and active competitor Marcos Nardini, and I have interest from a lot of guys. We will be organising some no-gi superfights, the winners of which will get a cash prize and again a lot of exposure.
We are still interested in getting more no-gi super fights so if you are interested send details to
. We will be travelling up to get some footage of Marcos and his opponent preparing for there battle, so look out for that on YouTube before the event!
FO: Is there anything else you would like to add Jason?
Yes, I’d just like to say again - don’t miss this event! (laughs) Its open to everyone to sign up and I recommend signing up early to guarantee your spot in the weight class most suitable for you. All competitors gain FREE access to the BodyPower Expo for the day that they compete, there will be a lot of interesting things going on, check their website www.bodypowerexpo.co.uk.
Start training for it now guys and coaches - organise your teams, get that cash prize and get your team coverage from the largest MMA magazine in the world!
As told to @johnjoeoregan