Anyone in Southern California hoping to check out Chael Sonnen and Josh Barnett at Metamoris this weekend will need a web browser.
Metamoris VI will be closed off to the public Saturday, founder Ralek Gracie confirmed with MMAFighting.com this week. No fans or media will be allowed in the building, which will be more of a studio set up. It's even unclear exactly where the grappling exhibition will be broadcasting from.
The only way to watch Metamoris VI will be via a pay-per-view stream on its website. The previous five events have all been open to spectators.
"We are experimenting with a more intimate setting for our athletes in their participation and focusing our resources on the pay-per-view experience for fans worldwide," Gracie told MMAFighting.com in a statement.
Metamoris is not allowing any outside filming in the venue, either -- even if it's affiliated with one of the competitors. Joe Lauzon, who meets Dillon Danis on Saturday, tweeted Tuesday that he will not be able to put out his popular fight week video blogs.
Sadly we aren't doing video blogs for @MetamorisPro this week. I grapple Saturday but they didn't want us filming anything. Sorry! #bjj— Joe Lauzon (@JoeLauzon) May 5, 2015
The Metamoris Twitter account responded back and Lauzon expressed his displeasure.
@MetamorisPro I understand... Just takes the behind the scenes out when we can't shoot behind the scenes. We don't have to. It's okay.— Joe Lauzon (@JoeLauzon) May 5, 2015
Not letting in fans (media has been barred from past events) is the latest in odd public-relations decisions for Metamoris. Gracie has come under fire recently for making athletes sign exclusive contracts and his stance on women's grappling. There has only been one female match in Metamoris history and Gracie insinuated that women's bouts would not be a big enough draw.
"We have to be constantly pushing the edge of what our viewership is, otherwise we won't survive," Gracie told MMAFighting.com's Luke Thomas last month. "All we're doing is reinvesting all of our money into these athletes. We're spinning a wheel. We have to keep the wheel moving. I just don't think there's women who are really going to bring it on that level."
After an outcry from the grappling community, Gracie posted a video on Metamoris' YouTube page after those controversial comments, essentially doubling down on what he initially said. In the video, Gracie said he was proud of himself for inadvertently starting the women's grappling discussion and encouraged Metamoris fans to make suggestions on which women they would like to see compete.
Along with Lauzon-Danis, the card will feature Barnett taking on Roberto "Cyborg" Abreu (update: Barnett will meet Ryron Gracie with Abreu injured) and Sonnen meeting Renato "Babalu" Sobral. In the other matches, Keenan Cornelius meets Xande Ribeiro, Clark Gracie faces Roberto Satoshi and Jeff Monson takes on the winner of the Road to Metamoris tournament.