Metamoris has put on more than 40 grappling matches in three and a half years of existence, but some competitors are still waiting to get paid.
Rising black belt A.J. Agazarm openly criticized the promotion in the past for not getting paid for a match with UFC veteran Karo Parisyan last August, and MMA Fighting has learned that Renato Sobral, who grappled against Chael Sonnen at Metamoris 6, in May of 2015, also haven’t received his money yet.
"I think (Metamoris founder Ralek Gracie) started great, helping jiu-jitsu and grappling grow with awesome matches, creating a great platform for athletes, but he wasn’t correct by not paying even with contracts signed," Sobral told MMA Fighting. "He could have done the same event even without paying anyone, just don’t promise anything. People pay to compete in (jiu-jitsu) tournaments, but when you promise something and don’t do it, you’re acting like a swindler, don’t you agree?
"I think he has good intentions, but my grandmother always said that hell is full of good intentions. He rose, and he drowned. With all due respect to him and his family, he made a huge mistake. I don’t recommend anyone to fight there if you want money. Fight without expecting getting paid, like in any other tournament. I wish him luck, and I hope someday he gets to clean his reputation in the jiu-jitsu world because it’s not looking good."
MMA Fighting reached out to Ralek Gracie for comments, and he promised to pay the fighters.
"The Metamoris mission has always been to elevate the sport of grappling in both production value and pro-grappler compensation," Gracie said. "This very concept has set us apart in the industry as well as represented our biggest challenge. It has been a difficult trail to blaze since the inception of Metamoris, and few have known this until our more recent public failures. We have made many mistakes, one being that we have been unable to pay our athletes in a timely manner. We faced major piracy issues particularly over the past two events, setting us back tremendously. We have been transparent with the athletes we owe as to our challenges and our plans to remedy them. We will pay all of our debts and if things go according to plan it will be shortly after this next event."
Metamoris has an event scheduled for July 17, and it was expected to be headlined by Roger Gracie vs. Marcus "Buchecha" Almeida. However, Almeida told MMA Fighting he had decided to withdraw from the card. With "Buchecha" out of the match, Gracie confirmed to MMA Fighting he had no intentions to compete at the event anymore.
According to sources, money was one of the reasons why "Buchecha" decided to withdraw from the card. The jiu-jitsu star wanted to get paid in advance, but couldn’t get into a deal with the promotion. Ralek Gracie, who will compete at Metamoris 7 against Tim Spriggs, released a statement to MMA Fighting on the situation.
I believe the essence of mastery is learning from your mistakes and pushing your limits in equal amounts. We will continue to make mistakes, hopefully new ones, but sometimes the same action is only a mistake under new circumstances. Buchecha is a real gentleman and we could've been more professional in how we dealt with him. I look forward to working with him in the future and I'm sure we will and with more care. To me, the most interesting part of this experience was seeing people get more 'excited' about the match not happening and the attention given by press when it was canceled rather than when it was announced. The athletes in Jiu Jitsu have an NBA level sportsmanship and Picasso level artistry, unlike any other combat sport, in my opinion. I'm passionate about getting them more of the credit they deserve as outstanding human beings. I believe modern society is on a path to more zen appreciation for the "chess" games of our culture and I'm excited to be a part of that process. My focus is on the quality of our experience for fans, connoisseurs, athletes and sponsors. There's so much to appreciate in a match like that happening; Roger and Buchecha battling it out for 20 minutes at Metamoris 1 was like watching Picasso paint in public. I'm inspired by them and they both are living legends and deserve the respect of everyone from every walk of life. M7 on July 17th is going to be exciting and details of the new main event will be out very soon. Be sure to reserve your webcast or get your live tickets before they sell out at Metamoris.com.
Side note on piracy: if you wait for Metamoris events to get on YouTube and don't purchase the webcast you are not supporting the athletes and their efforts so don't confuse yourself into thinking otherwise. If we have made a mistake on billing you twice we have since fixed that and apologize for any inconvenience. For any questions or concerns please email us directly through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Metamoris 7 is scheduled for July 17 in Los Angeles, Calif., and also features UFC fighters Gabriel Gonzaga and Gilbert Burns in matches against Satoshi Ishii and Dillon Danis, respectively, Matheus Diniz vs. Yuri Simoes, Gracie vs. Spriggs, and a secret match.