UFC Fight Pass charges $10 a month. Flograppling gets you for $20 or $149.99 if you want to see ADCC. The Professional Grappling Federation (PGF) wants to pay one fan $1,000 for watching their second season for free on YouTube. Well, there’s one catch…you have to win their Fantasy Grappling league.
Brandon Mccaghren, 10th Planet black belt and 10th Decatur owner, held the inaugural season of the PGF last year. Over nine weeks, 32 competitors in the 195lb division had 21 matches in the league, roughly working out to three matches a night and two by weeks. The matches were six minutes. To win the league, a competitor had to gain the most points – but points were only won with submissions. Each “kill” or choke garnered seven points; breaks (be it arm bars, heal hooks, etc.) earned three points.
Each week, these matches were live streamed on YouTube with excellent commentary by fellow 10th Planet black belts Matt Skaff and Lindsey Mccaghren (Brandon’s wife). Viewers were in on the game live, as the comments were live and often you would have fans and contestant’s family members and coaches interacting with the commentators. The excellent commentary, fan interaction, and revolutionary camera angles provided by Conscious Keelan of Conscious studios (allowing viewers to see all the action from the right angles) led to a truly awesome viewing experience. But the fantasy league created the real fanatics.
In season one, fans could register their account and play for fun. Each week they had $80 to fill their roster of up to five competitors. The price for competitors ranged from $25 to $10. YouTube live video shows and podcasts as well as blogs all pontificated on who to pick each week. In the first season, fans, competitors (looking at you Kevin Primeau), and even the producers of the league vied for fantasy domination.
The second season of the PGF is a little different. It’s a league of 16 competitors in the 225lb and under division. The season worked like a round robin tournament with everyone facing each other. This time, like a season of “The Ultimate Fighter” for submission grappling, the competitors traveled to Decatur, Alabama and spent a week living together and having their matches against one another. They averaged three fights a day for the week, for 15 matches each total. Brandon Mccaghren, Conscious Keelan, and their team are currently editing the footage and will be releasing eight weeks of the season with each week’s matches debuting on YouTube on Friday evenings, starting March 5th.
For this season, viewers can go to pgfhome.com where there’s a link to join the fantasy league. Each week, fantasy players will have up to seven competitors to choose for their team with a budget of $120. The first week, there will only be eight matches, but that number will double for subsequent weeks. Last season, the fantasy league was up in the air until the last couple of weeks. This year, the winning fantasy owner will score a cool $1,000 from Brandon Mccaghren. Fans of PGF’s first season have already been scouring the internet to find as much information about each competitor as possible, looking for competition videos on flograppling, UFC fight pass, YouTube, etc. The search for fantasy tidbits only makes fans relate that much more to the competitors, learning more reasons to cheer for them. Once again, the McDojo Show will provide fantasy advice the day of the matches (a couple of hours before) and fantasy owners will most likely find a blog with an egghead-like breakdown of the fantasy options if they find the link on Brandon Mccaghren’s brandonmc.ninja Facebook group. Don’t worry, you’ll never be behind on research. The nerds who are doing the internet scouring freely give their knowledge (protip: watch out for Stephen Eakin). Those new to this league can find plenty of interviews with competitors on The Grappling Discourse podcast run by commentator Matt Skaff (including a great preseason breakdown), the McDojo Show and other interviews from Brandon Mccaghren’s Facebook group and Instagram account. Whether viewers/fantasy team owners win the $1,000 or not, everyone watching PGF season two will have an awesome time. As has been pointed out elsewhere, this league is geared towards both jiu jitsu practitioners and non-practitioners alike. It’s very engaging jiu jitsu for the price of a click on YouTube. And who knows, if you guess correctly, you might just win $1,000.