Professional BJJ
Photo by: Kyu Lee

Martial arts changed forever in November 1993 with the introduction of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. UFC 1 took place in Denver, Colorado and promised a night of no rules fighting that would prove which style of combat was the most effective. Royce Gracie went on to win that event, along with the UFC's second and fourth tournaments. After these events, jiu-jitsu began to gain popularity as a martial art. What was once confined mainly to Brazil was now beginning to spread on a global scale. Although it was a process that took many years, and that is still evolving today, the growth of jiu-jitsu globally cannot be denied. Many young practitioners are training the art full-time in hopes of making a living through competition. Up until recently, this was a very difficult task to pull off. Tournaments required entry fees and travel was expensive, forcing most competitors to have unrelated jobs off the mats. Nowadays, however, the tides are starting to change. Tournaments that offer cash prizes, super fights, and sponsorship deals are becoming much more commonplace. There are now consistent professional jiu-jitsu promotions that pay athletes for every one of their events. Fight to Win, Third Coast Grappling, EUG Promotions, BJJ Stars, Who's # 1, and ADCC are currently some of the top professional promotions in the sport.

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