2017 Master Worlds Reflection
By Aaron Martinez
Last week was the sixth annual IBJJF Master World Championship in Las Vegas, and several teammates and I made the short trip to Sin City to compete. My first impression of the tournament was that there were a ton of competitors. I believe they had over 20 mats running for three days. After the initial massive line to check in and gain entrance into the venue (a large hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center), I found the tournament to be well executed and organized with even free seminars from the likes of the Ribeiro Brothers and Renzo Gracie. There were two large mat areas to warm up and plenty of space to sit and relax away from the mats. The spectating was a challenge, unless you were able to get a spot right at the fence on the edge of the mats.
The only thing I didn’t like about the tournament was that it was in Las Vegas. I like Las Vegas and participated in the first Las Vegas Open, but for the World Championships I’d rather have had as much focus as possible. Staying on the strip the night before made for a challenge to find a healthy, balanced meal, in order to feel optimal for my fight the next day. I much preferred Long Beach where I could easily get to Wholefoods and stock up on anything I needed the days leading up to the biggest event of the year for me. Of course, after my day of competition, it was fun to walk through the Casinos and go to restaurants with my teammates.
The one thing that stood out about the event, compared to the ones in the past, was the large amount of muscular competitors. I’ve never liked to assume that anyone who is bulging through their clothes with huge muscles is on some sort of PED, but I had several people make comments to me about how they would need to start testing for the Master Worlds. I was so focused on my own matches that I hadn’t really noticed the other competitors until someone brought it up. I looked around, and compared to the adult Worlds, their older counterparts were noticeably more muscular. That doesn’t necessarily mean that more Master fighters are using PEDs than the Adult fighters. Men get bigger as they get older and some of it may have more to do with being a tad older, but it probably wouldn’t hurt to start testing just to make sure it’s a more fair competition.