The Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) and Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu Jitsu Championships have become a source of confusion for some. Both are tournaments held worldwide, and both have “Abu Dhabi” in the title, but that’s where the similarities end.
Established in 1998, the ADCC is a No Gi submission fighting tournament. While the Gi is optional, most competitors opt not to wear one. Created by Sheik Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the son of then U.A.E. leader Sheik Zayed, the tournament pits all grappling styles together without favor. The ADCC follows its own unique set of tournament rules.
Held every 2 years, the ADCC World Championships have been hosted in different countries. Fighters are invited to compete or qualify by winning one of the many trials held worldwide. This year the championships are slated for England in September.
“When you hear Joe Rogan speak about a fighter’s grappling level in the UFC, you will hear the words “ABU DHABI” and the ADCC is what he is referring to,” says the secretary for ADCC North America, Canadian ADCC representative and co-organizer for one of the U.S. Abu Dhabi World Pro trials, Riccardo Ammendolia. “Many of the top ADCC champions have now gone on to MMA stardom such as Renzo Gracie, Mark Kerr, Jeff Monson, Fabricio Werdum, Demian Maia, Ronaldo Jacare and Roger Gracie.”
The Abu Dhabi World Pro is strictly a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournament. Established in 2009, this year is the third annual tournament. The tournament was Gi only, but a new No Gi division has been added this year. Both Gi and No Gi divisions adhere to the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) rules.
“The No Gi division of the World Pro has absolutely nothing to do with ADCC, but was added to give more opportunities for the athletes of Jiu Jitsu,” says Ammendolia.
Like the ADCC, the Abu Dhabi Pro trials are also held worldwide, however the championships are held every year in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. Trials qualifiers win an expenses paid trip to compete in the Abu Dhabi finals. This year the Abu Dhabi World Pro No Gi championships are April 8thand 9th, followed by the Gi Championships, April 14thto 16th.
“Some of the top grapplers compete in both . But it is hard to be champion in both,” says Ammendolia.
“Since the world pros inception in 2009, only Rafael Mendes was able to be a champion in both competitions.”