Metamoris is a professional grappling organization which holds submission only matches on a square mat. Athletes are allowed to wear gi pants, full tights, wrestling shoes, knee pads and rashguards during the 20 minute round. Each event so far has had consisted of 6 bouts, consisting of BJJ superstars, current/former MMA stars and fantasy match-ups.
After seeing the mega-star match-ups of Eddie Bravo v. Royler Gracie, Andre Galvao v. Chael Sonnen and Dean Lister v. Josh Barnett, Metamoris 5 featured MMA pioneers Renzo Gracie and Kazushi Sakuraba. The pair were involved in an epic battle at Pride 10 which saw awesome scrambles for position with Sakuraba eventually latching on a fight ending kimura. The grappling match didn't quite prove to be as entertaining as it was nostalgic.
With many pioneers of MMA retired or retiring, Metamoris is an event to give them an outlet for competition while promoting grappling. Who are some of the other legendary former fighters and what match-ups are possible? I've conjured up a few interesting names below, ranked from most likely to least likely to compete:
Matt Hughes- the former UFC welterweight champ and UFC HOF'er is rumored to be grappling Renzo Gracie in ADCC in 2015. A former Eastern Illinois wrestler, Hughes placed 5th in the NCAA tournament in 1997. In the ADCC he has defeated Jeremy Horn and Ricardo Almeida, while losing in absolute matches to Tito Ortiz and Jeff Monson. He was known for power slams in MMA, slamming is illegal from the top position in Metamoris. Interesting bouts for Hughes would be against BJ Penn, Frank Trigg, Carlos Newton, Royce Gracie or GSP. Hughes compiled an MMA record of 45-9 with 18 submission victories.
Randy Couture- the former HW and LHW UFC champ and UFC HOF'er has been on the outs with Dana White since his decision to coach on Bellator's Fight Master reality show. Couture is a 2X runner-up NCAA champ, multiple time Greco Olympic alternate and won a Greco Pan Am Games Gold in 1991. Couture was awarded a black belt in Neil Melanson's No Gi submission wrestling system following his arm triangle of James Toney. Couture had an epic battle with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in 2009 and a rematch would make sense. It would be cool to see a rematch against Enson Inoue. The blockbuster would be a bout against former Pride superstar Fedor Emelienenko.
BJ Penn- the former LW and WW champ retired from MMA following his TKO loss to Frankie Edgar, but may still have a drive to compete. BJ was awarded his BJJ Black belt in 2000 by Andre Pederneiras. He won gold at the IBJFF World Championships in 2000, has won a World Jiu Jitsu Championship. There are several former MMA opponents that would lend themselves to huge match-ups, such as Matt Hughes, Rodrigo Gracie, Renzo Gracie and perhaps even GSP. The big X-factor would be whether or not BJ wants to train.
Masakatsu Funaki- The co-founder of Pancrase, Funaki began fighting in 1993, last fighting to a draw against Volk Han in 2012. A two time King of Pancrase winner, Funaki started off in professional wrestling and last took part in a 2013 Wrestle-1 show. While some of the early Pancrase fights were a little suspect, Funaki holds submission wins over Bas Rutten, Frank Shamrock, Guy Mezger and Yuki Kondo. Potential match-ups could include bouts with Sakuraba, Frank Shamrock, Minowaman and Bas Rutten.
Ricardo Arona- At 13-0 in ADCC competition including 3 tournament championships, Arona last competed in MMA in 2009 defeating Marvin Eastman via decision. Arona would win a Rings middleweight title and become a Pride superstar with his performance at the 2005 MW Grand Prix. He holds wins over Wanderlei Silva, Jeremy Horn, Dan Henderson, Sakuraba and Alistair Overeem. Match-ups could include an MMA rematch with Dean Lister or ADCC rematches against Ricardo Almeida or Babalu Sobral.
Carlos Newton- A legend of Canadian MMA, Newton is an IBJJF 3rd Degree Renzo Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt under coach Terry Riggs. While retiring from MMA following a decision loss to Brian Ebersole, Newton has remained active in running Warrior MMA. Newton versus Kazushi Sakuraba in Pride 3 remains one of the most thrilling grappling based MMA contests. Newton won the UFC championship with a bulldog choke submission over Pat Miletich at UFC 31, only to be controversially slam KO'd to lose the belt at UFC 34. Some maintain that Hughes was asleep for the slam. He had other career wins over Erik Paulsen, Daijiro Matsui, Jose Landi-Jons, Renzo Gracie and Pete Spratt. Interesting match-ups would include a rematches with Sakuraba, Paulsen(who probably has a weight advantage), Renzo Gracie or Matt Hughes.
Genki Sudo- With flair and charisma to spare, Sudo was one of the most entertaining and unorthodox fighters to ever enter an MMA arena. Sudo has career submission victories over Nate Marquardt, Mike Thomas Brown, Kazuyuki Miyata and Hiroyuki Takaya, and KO'd Royler Gracie. In 2010 he received his BJJ black belt from Naoyoshi Watanabe at Triforce Academy, and was lightening fast in transition. Re-matches with Mike Thomas Brown, Kid Yamamoto or Royler Gracie make sense.
Fedor Emelianenko- Perhaps the greatest fighter of all-time, Fedor retired from MMA in 2012 following a KO win over Pedro Rizzo. Fedor has taken part in many Combat Sambo tournaments over the years, winning multiple gold medals in the Russian and World championships. He also has a bronze medal in Russian Judo Championships. Fedor accumulated 16 submission victories among his 34 total victories, submitting Tim Sylvia, Matt Lindland, Mark Hunt, Mark Coleman and Kevin Randleman during his MMA career. Obvious roadblocks to his potential entrance include his fee, potential co-promoting with his old management team M-1 and whether or not he has interest. He is supposedly considering a return to MMA. Match-ups could include Randy Couture, Josh Barnett, Antonio Nogueira and Mark Coleman.
Royce Gracie- The face of the early UFC and one of the reasons the UFC exists today, Royce and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu revolutionized fighting as we know it today. Royce captured the UFC 1, 2 and 4 tournament titles notching submission wins over Ken Shamrock, Dan Severn and Kimo Leopoldo. He was TKO'd by Sakuraba at Pride GP 2000 and won a rematch via decision in 2007. For the 2007 fight, Royce was failed a drug test for Nandrolone. A 6th degree black belt, it appears that he will be content with running his California schools and teaching private lessons. A rematch with Matt Hughes or Sakuraba makes sense.
Rickson Gracie- An 8th degree red and black belt in Gracie Jiu Jitsu and sporting a 12-0 MMA record, Rickson claimed to be undefeated in over 400 bouts. He acheived much notierity for the documentery Choke, which followed him as he prepared for Vale Tudo Japan tournament. A son of the legendery Helio Gracie, his son Kron Gracie tapped out Shinya Aoki and Otavio Sousa at the first and second Metamoris events. Any competitor over fifty would be a good one for Rickson, such as Dan Severn, though the odds of him returning are slim to none.
*GSP was not included due to his knee ailments. Was on the fence with Mark Coleman, Ken Shamrock, Kevin Randleman, Shane Carwin and Mark Kerr, but they might be too injured to return to a competition like this. I'd also say Dan Severn, but he is 56 years old. Frank Mir and Antonio Nogueira each may retire following their rumored UFC match-up, this type of event would be perfect for them. Lesnar probably would want way more money than Metamoris could offer and this might not be the right type of event for him.