PGF Season 3 – What We Know So Far

10th Planet Black Belt and 10th Planet Decatur owner Brandon “BMAC” Mccaghren has begun season 3 of the Professional Grappling Federation. In season 3, the PGF has a preseason represented by six qualifiers in different locations, followed by a week-long regular season, and finally a post-season tournament. All facets of the PGF, including the competition and multiple weekly commentary shows are all available on BMAC’s YouTube Channel for free. Currently, we are in the preseason, where grapplers under 170 lbs. contend for the 16 spots in the PGF main season. The winner of each qualifier earns a spot alongside Elijah “the Bad Guy” Carlton (PGF standout, High Rollerz tournament champion, and Submission Underground superfight winner). The remaining nine regular season contestant spots will be chosen by the PGF leadership from those who competed in the qualifiers. The PGF leadership will round out the league with a mix of belt levels and experience, giving priority to exciting, compelling competitors.

BMAC; his partner and videographer guru Conscious Keelan; and his wife, fellow 10th Planet Black Belt and PGF commentator Lindsey Mccaghren have already hosted two qualifiers in Decatur, AL and Lousiville, KY. The remaining qualifiers are in Ft Myers FL (24 July), Atlanta, GA (14 August), Jacksonville, FL (11 Sept), and Austin, TX (9 October). The regular season will be filmed and STREAMED LIVE (update as of 15 July) via YouTube over a week in November. For season 3, they are combining the competitor friendly week-long competition format while bringing back live streaming, live commentary, and interaction with the fans via the YouTube live chat feature. Moving it to one week of competition makes competing easier for those who live outside of the Decatur area as they only have to travel once and most folks can find a way to take a week off work. In season 2, we saw competitors from Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, as well as closer Southeastern states.

Those who earn spots in the regular season will be given quarters in a lake house in the Decatur area for one week in November. They will compete in three matches a night for the week, with the top eight scorers earning a berth to the post-season tournament. While BMAC (the Commish) has promised a College Game Day/Shark Week feel with all the coverage, fans should look forward to seeing the competitors go through experiential learning with Lonnie Jones (*crosses fingers*), competitor interviews before and after the matches, as well as likely increased behind the scenes footage a la The Ultimate Fighter.

The match time and scoring remains the same. The PGF forces action, limiting matches to six minutes with no overtime. Competitors only score by earning a submission – with Breaks (any joint lock) garnering three points for competitors, and Kills (any choke) earning six points for competitors. The “Elbow Genie Rule” is still in effect where competitors can earn an extra point for scoring a submission in the first minute of a match. The short match and scoring system puts a premium on attacking, almost eliminating stalling and draws. Draws are a loss for both competitors in the PGF as only the competitors with the top eight totals from the regular season earn spots in the post-season finale tournament.

Thus far, we have four known regular season participants. As noted, Elijah “the Bad Guy” Carlton has a spot. During the Decatur Qualifier, Jeovany Ortiz, a black belt from Jiu Jitsu Nation, secured the win, earning spot. Jeovany is a talented, young competitor with lots of competition experience for his age. He defeated five other competitors on the way to his win. The runner-up, David “Quadzilla” Evers is a purple belt out of 10th Planet Huntsville. He formerly trained under a Renzo Gracie black belt in Kansas. Evers showed the Commish something and earned the first at-large bid to the PGF Regular Season – taking out the Elbow Genie who many, including the Egghead Warrior, chose to win the qualifier probably helped. The final spot we know belongs to PGF OG Mario Gaor. The 10th Planet O’Fallon brown belt was a competitor in PGF Season 1. Since Mario weighs only 150 lbs, the 170 lb season 3 is much closer than the 195 lb limit competitors had in season 1. Mario beat two black belts and a two fellow PGF season 1 alumni to earn his spot, showcasing two very sick ankle locks and a wicked one-armed rear naked choke from a crucifix position.

While we have four known competitors who have earned the golden ticket to the PGF regular season, we have already had 42 participants in the qualifiers. Of the 39 other participants (Elijah didn’t have to participate in a qualifier), who has the best odds of getting one of the other at-large bids? Let’s look back at the qualifiers so far…

10th Planet Decatur Qualifier: 34 COMPETITORS!!!

Here’s the bracket from SmoothComp:

PGF’s Decatur Qualifier was MONSTROUS! It had a 34-person bracket.

Here’s the top nine finishers:

Top finishers in the PGF Qualifier in Decatur, AL.

I’ll start with the previously unknown folks. Carlos Andres (Summit Kickboxing but also Ironclad Wrestling) had very fun to watch wrestling. His quickness and scrambling made him very hard to handle. Carlos combined his wrestling with some serious leg locks for a compelling competitor profile. All the hardcore fans and seasoned bjj guys noted Carlos as a possibly interesting addition to the PGF. David “TaxMan” Cooper – I forgot the crazy tax nickname Walo Jay of the McDojo Show and PGF Insiders gave to Cooper, but it was funny. He had a very good showing, incorporating the shoulder crunch sweep the Elbow Genie showed off at IronClad Wrestling when he was a surprise instructor at Elijah’s seminar there. I like Cooper’s style and let’s face it – we need an elder statesman for the PGF. We had Stephen “Grey Goose” Mitchell in Season 1 and JUDO Justin Williams in Season 2 (technically younger than Stephen Eakin, but the gray hair earns the notation – heck both ya’ll are younger than me) – it seems like we need a competitor to carry the flame for us older jiu jitsu practitioners. Even if the older guy gets smoked more often than not, we can appreciate the fighting spirit. On that note, if there’s a jiu jitsu player named “Mike Johnson” out there, the PGF has one quota spot for a Mike Johnson in every season (somewhat inside joke, but look into it). Marcus Elkins didn’t end up in the top nine, but he was the most inquired about competitor after the qualifier according to the Commish. Marcus Elkins has a surname very familiar to PGF fans as he is the youngest brother of Jake Elkins (Season 2) and Matt Elkins (Seasons 1 and 2). Marcus, like his brothers and father, earned a state championship in wrestling in the great state of Alabama. Of course, when an Okie can double leg an Alabaman state champ in the PGF finale tournament, does that say a lot? (Sorry Matt, but had to say it – you can guillotine me later). Regardless, we have a compelling story with Marcus as he’s a wrestler, new to the jiu jitsu game but with a very well known name. If Marcus gets into the PGF and has a poor showing, will he be allowed at the adult table for Thanksgiving dinner? Likely not. Marcus showed a very nice darce and some good wrestling and jiu jistsu before being taken out by a leg lock. Marcus could thread the needle of skilled grappler who pushes the pace but could also fall prey and be dunked on by the top levels of the PGF folks – so he checks a lot of boxes for the Commish.

Okay, now onto the guys the PGF fans know and love. Of note, I’m going to discuss Isaac Stackhouse after the Louisville qualifier so don’t think I forgot about the Wandering Grappler. So, if I could only pick one retread from the PGF out of the Decatur Qualifier, it would be Jonathan “Elbow Genie” Roberts. He’s a black belt whose armbars are legendary in the PGF. He has a scoring rule named after him (or at least instituted due to him). He brings excitement and finishes to every match. He looks like an accountant, temporarily earning him the nickname “the Accountant” but Elbow Genie is better. BTW, he works in finance so he brings another source of identification for a new segment of viewers (yay nerds!). I know he’s resting up from some bursitis in his knee, but the Elbow Genie should find a way to another qualifier to help build his resume for a spot.

Kevin “the Pete Rose of the PGF, the Liquid Terminator” Primeau has a good case for being in this season as well. He was in both season 1 and 2 of the PGF. In season 2, Primeau battled through his matches with COVID-diminished cardio. He’s back to full Liquid Terminator power now and wants to cook his opponents with his pressure passing in season 3. Why wouldn’t Primeau get a spot? Well, the Commish has said he wants as much geographic diversity as possible. Technically, Primeau could be the one rep of 10th Planet Decatur (even though other folks visit, Primeau calls 10P Decatur home). Primeau has gone back to his pressure passing as opposed to his COVID-required sneakiness of season 2, but his passing has led to slower paced matches where he hasn’t secured as many submissions as one would hope. To be fair, the commentators thought it was a toss up to call who won Primeau’s match against Noah Randolph. Speaking of Noah, he has an outside chance at a spot. He’s progressed a lot since Season 1 – and even then, Noah was a fan favorite. Noah isn’t the liquid terminator, he’s the O.G. Terminator, showing no emotion and refusing to breath through his mouth ever ( James Nestor would be proud – google it). Noah is the master of the ninja choke. Just like Kevin Ferguson can hit darces from everywhere, Noah sees ninja chokes from all angles. Noah is still a minor with insane potential. I don’t think he makes the cut this time, but he’s likely a ready walk-on in case someone is injured (of course, he’d possibly have to miss school).

The Louisville Qualifier was smaller than expected with eight competitors, but showcased some very high level jiu jitsu. Here’s the competitors who hit the mats:

PGF Louisville Qualifier competitors

I was very high on the hometown favorite Matt “Scarecrow of Doom/SOD” Harrison. He earned his black belt under Nick “Chewjitsu” Albin after he participated in PGF Season 1. Since the qualifier was held in Chewjitsu’s Derby City MMA gym in Louisville, the SOD had a strong local fan presence including a mini SOD with full Scarecrow regalia. The SOD has a wicked guard, finishing many a competitor via triangle choke. It is so fearsome, Joshua Gibbs (Season 2 alumnus) did a jumping guard pull at the same time as the SOD in an attempt to not fall prey to the SOD’s guard (the double rainbow can be seen in BMAC’s Facebook group). While the SOD didn’t kill it at the qualifier, he did well and his resume from season one could get him a spot – plus he could be one of those guys who performs better away from the home crowd.

Evan Dewitt, a black belt out of Derby City MMA, was mislabeled in the competition site. Regardless, he was somewhat of an unknown going into the qualifier. Still, he showed sick jiu jitsu with multiple quick submissions and a very game match against the eventual winner Mario Gaor in the final match. The Commish told Evan he had a good shot at a spot and those who watched the qualifier would likely agree. But would Evan’s jiu jitsu outweigh the SOD’s cachet? Tough call for the Commish, but spoken as a super fan, I’d probably like to see Evan if there can be only one Derby City MMA participant.

Joshua Gibbs was a contestant in Season 2. He had a good match against the SOD for the third place spot but lost the decision. Gibbs has a good spirit and is a great person, but I don’t think he’ll make it to Season 3. That said, Gibbs could be a great competitor to include in season six, seven, or eight. I think bringing alumnus back to see how they’ve grown and changed can be really interesting.

Eric Longar – brown belt formerly of 10th Planet Las Vegas, has consistently show great passing. He dominated Mario Gaor positionally for most of the round, but lost that first match of the qualifier via ankle lock. Longar is interesting. I noted his skills in PGF Season 1, but you could tell his size was too small for the league that season. Now with competitors 25 lbs smaller, he should have a more reasonable shot in matches.

Isaac Stackhouse – purple belt under Stephen Eakin at 10th Planet Perry, but as “The Wandering Grappler” he trains in multiple locations throughout the southeast. Isaac showed some good jiu jitsu in the Decatur Qualifier, but had a bad draw and faced the Scarecrow of Doom in his first match in the Louisville Qualifier. If you’re not prepared for the SOD, you’re going to get triangled and that’s what happened. Having the guy from behind the Dream Show come out on the other side of the camera and compete is an interesting narrative. Letting the observer, the documenter shine/have his time in the light. With Isaac’s mixed martial arts background and relentless pursuit of training opportunities, he should bring something very different to the PGF. Besides, if we don’t get a 10th Planet Perry member in the mix, we won’t have folks spamming circus tents like crazy in the chat…and we’d all miss that greatly (riiiiight).

Okay, that’s enough for now. I wanted to at least put something out there. I was hoping to try to make something other media outlets could pick up or cite (a la from last season), but the move (including having our AC go out) and work has been kicking my rear end a bit. I’ll see about cleaning this post up a bit later and maybe adding hyperlink to things like competitors’ intagram/youtube channels, etc., but it’ll have to wait. I owe you all some blog posts about my traincation I did at 10P Decatur the week prior to the Season 2 post-season tournament and I will get it done sooner rather than later. I think I have some good advice for folks wanting to travel to Decatur to train.

For now, I hope you all join me in watching the PGF Fort Myers Qualifier tomorrow (24 July) on BMAC’s YouTube channel. I’m bummed because the two competitors PGF Insider/McDojo Show sponsored for the qualifier BOTH cannot make it. Regardless, I’m looking forward to some great jiu jitsu and some methadone for us addicted PGF fans.

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