EVERYONE GETS PAID! Of all the news we learned about the PGF in the last week, the Brandon Mccaghren‘s decision to pay all members of the PGF regular season has to be the top news. We’ll cover the details on the payments, other updates for season 3, a review of the Jacksonville qualifier, and more prognostication on at-large bids in this article. One more important fact if you only read the first paragraph – PGF Season 3 will go from 9-15 JANUARY 2022 including the post-season tournament, not November as previously planned. As has been previously reported, all matches will be broadcast LIVE on Brandon Mccaghren’s YouTube channel.
UPDATES: No sooner did my article hit the presses (or interwebs if you’re so inclined) than was it rendered incorrect by the Mccaghren (the Commish) and his PGF partner Conscious Keelan. Unlike the original plan of 16 competitors, the Commish has switched it to four teams of five (*checks his math*) so 20 overall competitors. Each of the four teams will have a coach, with Jake Elkins (season 2 alumn and Ironclad Wrestling owner), Drew Weatherhead (Because Jiu Jitsu owner, BJJ black belt, regular on the Around the Mat show), Johnny Buck (Catch Wrestler, MMA veteran, Rogue Combat Club instructor, 10th Planet brown belt, he also “wears the wring” if you’re a Conroy fan), and Eli Knight (seriously, if you’re reading this article and don’t know Elij Knight from his YouTube Channel, Instagram, or otherwise, I’m surprised). This group of coaches should be really fun. Sorry if too many asides in the parenthesis.
Besides mentoring and coaching the competitors, one of the main jobs the coaches will perform is selecting their teams in a LIVE DRAFT. Competitors will report to 10th Planet Decatur on 9 January. They will immediately weigh-in, the only time they will weigh in for the week so we could have some 190+ pounders not so far into this 170 league play. The evening of the 9th, the competitors will perform in a pre-season combine which I’m guessing will be similar to what we saw in Season 1.
The Coaches will have a draft to select their teams. The order has not been set, but may involve some sort of “Coaches’ Challenge” for more fun content. Regardless, competitors will be paid based on their draft position. So, the first round overall pick will receive the most money ($750 flat for first rounders), second round will get $500, and the last rounders including “Mr. Irrelevant” aka the last one drafted will receive the least amount ($100). The post-season tournament winner will also win $800, for a total starting pot of $10,000 for the competitors. But this pay will only be the start. To further incentivize great matches with lots of action, whichever two competitors are in the “match of the night” will each win $200 for that night. Finally, live viewers can give superchats over YouTube and designate who the money will go towards. So, fans or supporters can recognize the accomplishments of competitors in real time and reward them accordingly. PGF Insiders also believe there will be “BOUNTIES” on certain submissions like we saw at the Fort Myers, Atlanta, and Jacksonville qualifiers, where members of the chat pledged certain amounts for certain submissions. If someone could have hit “the wrister,” they would have walked away from Jacksonville with an additional $75 in their pocket.
This season, each competitor will have 12 matches. They will not compete against their teammates, allowing for possible team points similar to what we saw in Season 2, but without any possibility of COLLUSION ruining an Egghead’s fantasy chances. With 12 matches, it also means we may not see certain matches or might have to wait for them until the post-season tournament (ala Caleb McAlister v Elijah “the Bad Guy” Carlton in Season 1). The post-season will occur on at the end of the week, Saturday 15 January. This non-existent layoff will place a premium on staying healthy during the regular season.
JACKSONVILLE QUALIFIER: The tournament was held at 10th Planet Jacksonville which was a nice venue and looks to be a great place to train. 16 competitors registered with 15 making it to the tournament. The bracket and results can be found here. If you are interested in a great breakdown of the tournament, I’d recommend you check out the PGF Insider Podcast. As a summary, we had a lot of familiar faces at this tournament, we had PGF Season 1 alumn and purple belt Louis Collins (who made me eat crow when I bet against him in season 1 who was also at his second qualifier), the Wandering Grappler himself Isaac Stackhouse (who continued his 100% participation at all qualifiers), Raymond Paige out of 10th Planet West Palm Beach who we last saw in the finale of the Fort Myers qualifier, Manning Leverett from 10th Planet Jacksonville who we last saw winning the superfight at the PGF Season 2 Finale, and Kevin Beuhring out of 10th Planet Atlanta who we last saw in the finale of the Atlanta qualifier. In the end, Beurhing showed masterfal jiu jitsu, especially for a one-year white belt! He used his expert leg locks to submit opponents or to open them up for other submissions (e.g. RNC). All Beurhing’s matches ended in submission and ended usually early in the allotted time. Beurhing could be very compelling to watch, and may have a chance to make the post-season if he can take advantage of the Elbow Genie rule on enough opponents in the regular season. I’m glad I made sure to include Beuhring in my list for at-large bids (looks like I was right).
AT-LARGE BID PREDICTION UPDATES: For my jumping off point, please see my original matology post.
Current Golden Ticket Owners: These folks have their tickets punched for the PGF regular season: Elijah “the Bad Guy” Carlton (automatic bid winner for being the face of the PGF), Jeovany Ortiz (black belt and Decatur qualifier winner), Mario Gaor (Louisville qualifier winner and PGF season 1 alumnus), Tyler Woolsey (Fort Myers qualifier winner, new purple belt, and a great interviewee), Kevin Sherrell (Atlanta qualifier winner), Kevin Beuhring (Jacksonville qualifier winner), and David “Quadzilla” Evers (first at-large bidder winner and second place at Decatur qualifier). The Commish has extended an offer to another black belt that PGF fans should know, but has not received a commitment yet.
At-Large folks: Okay, I’m up against press time and I need to get this post out (e.g. it’s getting late and I want to hit the mats at the 0600 class tomorrow), so I’m going a little down and dirty on this portion. The Commish has shown an interest in folks who have pushed the pace and shown a willingness to take a chance. He’s shown an interest in competitors where fans can see how they have progressed. The Commish also likes loyalty, saying he likes a “company man” multiple times in interviews. He likes folks who show up to multiple qualifiers -providing a larger sample size to weigh their abilities and showing dedication. So with this guidance, who do we think have the best shot at getting the remaining 12 bids(remember we still have the Austin qualifier so that will take another spot)?
Best Bets (in no certain order):
1. The Wandering Grappler Isaac Stackhouse – every match we’ve seen him in has been good. Isaac is the Rudy of the PGF (he was a scrub at Notre Dame, but he made it on the field, so that’s something). If Isaac makes it out to the Austin qualifier, there’s about no way the Commish can’t give him a spot.
2. Evan Dewitt – the runner-up from the Louisville qualifier. He’s a black belt from Chewjitsu’s gym (Derby City MMA). As we saw with the Scarecrow of Doom from PGF Season 1, they have a great set of fans. More importantly, Dewitt has some great jiu jitsu and was fun to watch.
3. Manning Leverett – was in season 2 finale and won a match against a very game opponent. This 10th Planet Jacksonville product was hurt in the Jacksonville qualifier but the Commish said he was interested in giving him a spot.
4. Noah Randolph – I’m sorry Kevin “the Pete Rose of the PGF” Primeau but THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE! Well, not really, but the Commish is likely to only pick one of you. We’re all huge fans of Kevin’s but we know he has a lot of irons in the fire. Noah has a reputation for having improved a lot since season 1. He was already a fan favorite in season 1 and it would be great seeing his progress.
5. Jonathan “the Elbow Genie” Roberts – he should have been 1 or 2, but I’m tired. The Elbow Genie was masterful, showing some beautiful jiu jitsu in Season 1. We need to see more, especially since this season will be closer to his true weight class.
6. Matthew Boiles – He’s a young blue belt and a real go-getter. Okay, I’m biased. The PGF Insiders picked him for a sponsored entry in the Atlanta qualifier, AND HE PROVED US RIGHT! He performed very well, pushing the pace in his matches, going for submissions. He lost in the semifinals to the eventual winner. The Commish said he wanted to see more out of him. So we tried to get him to the Jacksonville qualifier, but he couldn’t get off work. He’s going to the No-Gi Worlds with teammates so he should have a chance to make more of a case for admission to the regular season. He’s the type of competitor who will either make a highlight or be someone elses highlight and he’s just a great kid from every interaction I’ve had with him.
7. Randy “Dumptruck” Roden – Okay, so the Commish doesn’t like teammates going together. But, it could be a nice storyline with Roden and Boiles having a rivaly with Sherrell and Beurhing as it was Scramble BJJ against 10P Atlanta in the semifinals of the Atlanta qualifier. Roden brings a story of seeing a great wrestler (D1 at Duke) who had just been training jiu jitsu for one year at the beginning of PGF Season 2 where he competed. The fact that Roden made the big cut to 170lb and has the ability to be exciting on the mats and show progress to the fans…well, that’s a run-on sentence but still a compelling argument for his admission to the regular season.
8. Marcus Elkins – The Elkins are like Cowbell, and we need more cowbell. The baby Elkins brother has something to prove after his two elder brothers have had such great showing in the PGF. Just like he had to win a state championship in wrestling to leave the little kids table at Thanksgiving dinner; he will feel the pressure to show up and perform for the PGF. He’s been at multiple qualifiers. He’s shown some great darce submissions and great wrestling. And he brings a great story with his and his family’s ongoing connection to the PGF.
9. Cameron Woodfell – He’s a blue belt out of 10th Plane Jacksonville and the runner-up for the Jacksonville qualifier. He’s been training more than a decade but is only a blue belt due to serving in the Navy and moving around so much. I’ve known a number of guys who’s careers have made them move all over and had it stunt their ranking. I think his performance (including taking out the 10th Planet West Palm Beach head coach and Raymond Paige who was the runner-up in the Fort Myers qualifier) as well as his story make him a great choice for an at-large bid.
10 & 11. You pick from Eric Longar, Matt “Scarecrow of Doom” Harrison, Josh Gibbs, or Raymond Paige. They have all shown dedication/loyalty either as alumni of the PGF or making it to multiple qualifiers, or both (Josh Gibbs). Honestly, I’m a fan of all of them. But going off what I’ve seen of their jiu jitsu and competition footage, I think Longar and Paige are the more exciting grapplers. But it’s really hard not to go with Gibbs. Gibbs would be at his natural weight class (went up for Season 2). He’s a great guy and definitely a company man.
12. Someone from 10th Planet Austin qualifier – I have to reserve one spot either for that unnamed black belt who the Commish gave an offer or for someone to shine bright at the Austin qualifier.
Okay, I gotta hit the rack. You can get more information and discussion of these things on any one of the BJJ 365 podcasts which will air tomorrow (Thursday, 16 September) on Brandon Mccaghren’s Youtube channel but which will also be available on Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts under BJJ 365.