The Shark Week of Jiu Jitsu has arrived! The Professional Grappling Federation (PGF) will begin live-streaming a week of submission grappling competition starting 9 January. At 6pm CST, the 24 competitors will have ceremonial weigh-ins then compete in a pre-draft combine. The next day at 10am CST, the PGF Season 3 coaches will draft their teams. That evening, the 10th of January, the season’s live matches will begin with three matches per competitor per night. PGF Season 3 will wrap up with the post-season finale tournament on Saturday, 15 January. All the action, from the ceremonial weigh-ins, to the draft, to crowning the ultimate PGF Season 3 champion, will all stream live and free on YouTube. This article will lay out some of the history and background of the PGF, discuss the Coaches, the Competitors, the Schedule, the Post-Season Finale, and how ALL COMPETITORS ARE GETTING PAID. You can either read straight through the article or use these hyperlinks:
Professional Grappling Federation History:
The PGF is a submission grappling league where competitors amass points only through submissions in six-minute matches. Breaks (armbars, leg locks, etc.) earn three points; Kills (chokes) earn six points. Competitors who score a submission in less than one minute will earn a bonus point. At the end of 12 matches, the competitor with the most points will be the regular-season champion and first seed for the post-season Finale tournament.
Brandon Mccaghren (BMAC) began the PGF as a way to normalize competition for his students and as a project during the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic. BMAC knew to be a great competitor, his students needed repetitions in competing in general (not just on the mats, but the routine, mindset, etc around the competition). Having been around the jiu jitsu game for a while, BMAC wanted to tweak the normal competition rules to incentivize passing the guard and submissions. So, each competitor in the PGF gains in the rankings by accumulating points for submissions: originally seven points for a kill (choke) and three points for a break (any joint lock). If any match ended without a submission, the result was each competitor lost the chance to gain points via submission – meaning a draw was an outcome. This scoring scheme led to action-packed matches where competitors not only hunted for submissions but actively tried to pass guards to get chokes.
PGF Season 1 had a close-knit feel, with the competitors traveling to 10th Planet Decatur each Friday for a live-streamed show. Being live, the viewers could interact in real-time with the commentators, 10th Planet Decatur Black Belts Lindsey Mccaghren and Matt Skaff, and each other. In the first season, the fans of the competitors and viewers who found the show via algorithms built a community around a shared appreciation for jiu-jitsu.
For the second season, BMAC broadened the scope of competitors, seeking folks from far away states. To enable engaging a higher level of competitor from farther away, BMAC morphed the PGF season from 12 weeks into a seven-day gauntlet. With most folks being able to get off work for a week, the PGF was able to garner competitors from Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, etc. Due to constraints, the PGF filmed the entire regular season during that week and released the footage in two-block (a block was roughly a match for each competitor) segments each week. They then had their post-season tournament a few months after initial filming. While the production quality was very high, the fans missed the opportunity to interact with the commentators, live spectators, and competitors.
Season 3 will combine the best of both seasons 1 and 2. As stated above, the regular season will be from 9-15 January. The 9th will be the ceremonial weigh-ins and combine, the 10th will be the draft and first rounds of matches. The 11th-13th will have the remaining regular-season matches. The 14th will be a rest day (matches at least) for competitors but should have other content. Then, the 15th will be the post-season tournament. Season 3 also included a pre-season comprised of qualifiers where interested grapplers vied for a chance to be on Season 3. The qualifiers streamed live and are still available on BMAC’s YouTube channel. For the qualifiers, the PGF leadership help tournaments in Decatur, AL; Louisville, KY; Fort Myers, FL; Atlanta, GA; Jacksonville, FL; and Austin, TX. The qualifiers served to expose multiple markets to the PGF and to provide opportunities for the PGF to enlist top grapplers from many geographical areas. All told, BMAC took the six qualifier winners and 18 other grapplers who had competed in the qualifiers or had other experiences with the PGF.
The PGF will have four teams this season. Each team will have its own sponsor (e.g. Toe Hold Flip-Flops) and have its own coach(es). The coaches’ main job will be to build their teams through the draft. However, the Coach whose team wins the most will receive $500 worth of Bitcoin. Here are your Season 3 coaches:
- Jake Elkins and Matt Elkins: the Elkins brothers!!!!! Jake Elkins is a wrestling aficionado, having been a AL state champ and wrestled in college. He’s a purple belt under BMAC/the Commish and has excelled at both teaching wrestling to National-level talent and has worked to adapt traditional wrestling to jiu jitsu. Matt Elkins is the younger brother of Jake, but the higher belt in jiu jitsu as a brown belt. Matt is also an AL wrestling state champion and was an MMA fighter until fairly recently. Matt has one of the most killer front headlock/chinstrap set of submissions around. Any competitor picked by this team should be leveling up their wrestling for jiu jitsu a lot during the season.
- Eli Knight – if I have to explain how awesome Eli Knight is, I’m not sure how you got to this page. Please check out his YouTube Channel and Instagram. He has awesome techniques available: no-gi, gi, self-defense, basically everything you could want online. I’m very excited to see him as a part of the PGF.
- Drew Weatherhead – Because Jiu Jitsu owner, BJJ black belt, regular on the Around the Mat show. If you only know him from the Around the Mat show, you might think Drew is just a funny Canadian guy. I assure you, check out his tutorials and technique videos. He’s a technician and will be great to see teach competitors and will be funny trading barbs with other coaches.
- Sean Applegate – @Trapplegate10P is working on taking over the SE US grappling scene if not the world. He sent two of his lower belt students to take down two qualifiers and almost had another student take down a third. Applegate has another student who won CJJ Worlds and got to the round of 16 in the ADCC trials. Applegate is known as the authority on leg locks and as one of the calmest coaches matside. I wouldn’t be surprised if his team members started making pilgrimages to Atlanta after learning from Applegate.
At 10am, 10 January, the coaches will draft their teams live. The coaches above will have to vie for their draft order in a coaches’ challenge which will be streamed live as well. Immediately after the challenge, the coaches will have to pick their teams. Honestly, there’s a lot of excitement about this draft. Anyone who has ever played fantasy football knows the draft is half the fun of the season. The PGF Insiders had both a mock draft (with post-draft analysis) and a pre-draft show, highlighting their rankings and evaluations of the competitors as compared to Egghead Warrior’s Big Draft Board. Besides just weighing the talent of each individual, extra intrigue could be added when considering these coaches may have to choose between the objectively better grappler and one of their students. As PGF Season 2 alumn and PGF Season 3 broadcast team member, Stephen Eakin, pointed out in his The Dream Show Live Podcast, he can get more out of competitors coaching matside if he really knows the competitor and their style. His cohost and PGF Season 3 competitor, Isaac Stackhouse, further pointed out while there’s $500 of bitcoin on the line for coaches, they have a vested interest in their team’s long-term development – how far does loyalty go? They both pointed out the draft will drive or eliminate possible matchups as each competitor will not face another competitor selected for their team. Just like every draft, we’ll be looking forward to how it shakes out. Where will everyone land? What coaches make reach picks, selecting someone much earlier than their projected rank? Which coach and which competitor has the best smack talk during the draft? It’s going to be exciting.
BMAC largely chose his competitors from the six PGF Season 3 qualifiers, the first known pre-season for a jiu jitsu league. Elijah Carlton and Caleb McAllister were given special invitations as the winner (Elijah) and runner-up (Caleb) of PGF Season 1 and runner-up of PGF Season 2 (Elijah). These competitors run the gamut from newly-promoted blue belt to seasoned black belts. They have D1 wrestlers and leg lock specialists. 24 competitors made the roster, but only 20 will be drafted to the main teams. Since the PGF will be a gauntlet that could test the wills and bodies of the competitors, each team will draft a backup player. This backup player will be able to step in for a teammate who cannot compete. The competitors are listed below. The numbers were from my Big Draft Board; they are not official.
|1||Elijah “the Bad Guy” Carlton||Brown Belt, Southside Jiu Jitsu and 10th Planet Atlanta||Consensus first pick. The first person in the PGF Hall of Fame. 24-0 in PGF Season 1 (all subs); only lost two matches in Season 2. SUG superfight winner, High Rollerz Brown Belt Champ. The Bad Guy has a scary guard with ridiculous triangles, leg locks, and the experience to know to go for the kill.|
|2||Caleb McAllister||Black Belt, Renaissance Academy of Martial Arts||Runner-up in PGF Season 1. Season 3 will be at his natural weight. Caleb is a very experienced competitor at black belt. He’s got non-stop cardio. Between his pace and his knowledge base, he’s going to be hard to beat.|
|3||Dane Leak||Black Belt, Clinch Martial Arts||Experience competitor at black belt. High Rollerz wins. Three submissions at ADCC East Coast trials recently. Goes for the KILL and has a sneaky ability to defend leg locks right into mounting his opponent. He’s not well known in the Southeast, but he’s got a real shot at winning it all.|
|4||Jeovany Ortiz||Black Belt, One Nation Jiu Jitsu||All Jeo knows is jiu jitsu. He’s been training forever (since literally a kid) and he’s been teaching jiu jitsu and competing his entire adult life. He put on a good show at a very stacked Decatur Qualifier. He’d be higher, but he has losses to two of the folks higher than him.|
|5||Jonathan “the Elbow Genie” Roberts||Black Belt, SBG/Spartan||The Elbow Genie. A technician. So smooth and dangerous, they had to make a rule to appreciate his quick kills. He’s a fan favorite for good reason, his slick jiu jitsu. He still has a predilection for breaks versus kills (tip of the cap to his darce) which could lower his point totals, but since they put in the Elbow Genie rule, I have a feeling he’s going to get a lot of 4 pointers (3 points for break and 1 extra point for it being in less than a minute).|
|6||Kevin Primeau||Brown Belt, 10th Planet Decatur||The Liquid Terminator, the Pete Rose of the PGF (who isn’t taking my money). Primeau will be cutting down from 195 or so and will be 170 for all of one minute. He’s fully healed from his COVID experience that hampered him all season. The word on the street is he’s switched up his game to include more speed, meaning more time to get those kills. Other than Elijah, Primeau is the only person to compete in all three seasons of the PGF. Usually a man with many irons in the fire, I hear Primeau has taken out many of his distractions to focus on this season. In PGF Fantasy, we have a rule to never bet against Primeau. Coaches this season would do well to remember that rule.|
|7||Mario Gaor||Brown Belt, 10th Planet O’Fallon||Fans can check out Mario on @neckstepbjj Instagram page. When he won the Louisville qualifier, Mario took down two black belts with a double outside ashi ankle lock which shouldn’t work, but he dedicated an Instagram post to the PGF Insiders, showing how he made it work. Mario has wins over Longar, the Scarecrow of Doom, and Evan Dewitt from that qualifier as well as a number of solid victories in PGF Season 1. At 5’6″ and 150 lbs, he’s one of the smaller competitors. But if Mario could do well in Season 1 against a much larger contingent of competitors, he should have a good showing in a pool of competitors closer to his size. Like many of the higher ranked draftees, Mario’s teaching of jiu jitsu has likely cemented his techniques and forced him to innovate as we all know the best way to learn something is to teach it.|
|8||Kevin Sherrill||Purple belt, 10th Planet Atlanta||Atlanta qualifier winner (over the other Kevin below). Sherrill was a Georgia state champion wrestler garnering a scholarship to a D1 wrestling program. He came back and started teaching wrestling. Now he’s a disciple of Coach Applegate at 10th Planet Atlanta – meaning he has killer leg locks to go with his wrestling. He should be very dangerous this season.|
|9||Kevin Beuhring||Blue Belt, 10th Planet Atlanta||Your Jacksonville qualifier winner (and Atlanta qualifier runner up). Started jiu jitsu in Sept 2020 and is wrecking folks! After winning the Jacksonville qualifier and some other competitions, Coach Applegate felt like he had to promote “Beurick.” Beurick goes for the legs, but as we saw from the Jacksonville qualifier, he’s adept at threatening the legs and turning that into a back take and RNC. The man is only 19. He’s going to be resilient and a sponge, soaking up all the knowledge around him during this competition. He very well may be the blue belt that will submit a black belt this season.|
|10||Tyler Woolsey||Purple Belt, Rogue Wave Martial Arts (formerly 10th Planet West Palm Beach)||Your Fort Myers qualifier winner. He’s the prodigal blue belt who returned home. Woolsey started in the 10th Planet system as a teenager. He competed at blue belt and traveled all over for training. Then, he had to take a break while he worked like crazy to afford college. Now a young professional, he’s back at murder yoga. He’s going to be exciting. Woolsey’s going to show us rubber guard, lockdown, flying triangles, etc. He should be a lot of fun to watch and a threat to do very well.|
|11||Evan Dewitt||Black Belt, Derby City MMA / S&G BJJ||Your Louisville qualifier runner-up. He has very smooth scrambling and transitions. He can go after the back or legs equally well. He may have been higher ranked, but he has a small sample size of readily available matches via open-source intel.|
|12||David “Quadzilla” Evers||Purple Belt, 10th Planet Huntsville||Your Decatur qualifier runner-up and first at-large bid. Quadzilla features a killer leg attack with ridiculous grips. At 5’5″ and 160 lbs, he’s one of the smaller competitors (other than those tree trunks). His preview video suggested he’s going to continue going back to the well with his leg attacks which would limit his points in the season unless he can emulate the Elbow Genie in securing those subs in the first minute. Of course, Evers could be using some misdirection on us. He’s wicked smart – let’s just say he’s the type of guy who could rock one of those “rocket scientist” bumper stickers you may have seen if you live near the aviation/space industries. Another competitor with limited footage, it will be interesting to see his full game this season.|
|13||Manning Leverett||Purple Belt, 10th Planet Jacksonville||Leverett had a great showing at the PGF Season 2 Finale in a super fight with a very game opponent. Unfortunately, he had an injury during the Jacksonville Qualifier against Louis Collins so we didn’t get to see much of him in the qualifiers. Leverett got one victory in the ADCC trials before falling to the same opponent who took out Leak in the Round of 32. Leverett won the Mid South Classic 3, but on Smoothcomp has a so-so record. At pick 13, he’s right in the middle of the pack and that seems about right. Still, he could be a value pick here.|
|14||Randy “Dumptruck” Roden||Blue Belt, Scramble BJJ and Wrestling||Honestly I would be surprised if Roden drops this far. This ranking is only based on Roden’s still limited time in jiu jitsu – going on about two years. Still, Roden is a multi-time Georgia state champion, being undefeated his junior and senior years. He parlayed those results into a scholarship to Duke University where he competed for five years (you can still find videos of him teaching technique like his deadly heel pick on their Facebook page). He’s probably the best athlete in this competition. On the feet, he’ll hit heel picks, throw bys, and don’t let him get double overhooks or you’re going for a ride. On the ground, he’s super smooth, flowing between positions, but he showed us in PGF Season 2 he needed to work on his submissions. In Season 2, he played the blue belt – the belt of surviving. Don’t get me wrong, he was trouble for any competitor, but he hadn’t solidified his killing strokes. Now, the word is he’s added some submissions, including leg locks and the “anal strangle” (his words, not mine check out the Atlanta qualifier to see it). In Season 2, the competitors were joking that they better not teach Roden anything – this time, with more time to work on his offense and great coaches, Roden could easily be the blue belt to submit a black belt or two.|
|15||Matt “Scarecrow of Doom” Harrison||Black Belt, Derby City MMA||A Season 1 fan favorite, the Scarecrow of Doom (SOD) has a killer closed guard. He’s a black belt under Nick Albin aka Chewjitsu. The SOD is a very game opponent, but we saw Mario Gaor effectively neutralize the SOD’s guard by going for leg attacks every time the SOD pulled guard. The SOD had a very close match for fourth place in the Louisville qualifier with Josh Gibbs (see below) and lost to the eventual runner-up at the Austin qualifier. It seems criminal to pick a black belt this low, but it’s hard to gauge his skill set against this new, young crew of killers. The fact he’s this far down on the board is more of a commentary on the quality of competitors this season than anything else.|
|16||Eric Longar||Black Belt, 10th Planet Crystal City||I may still be salty about putting him on my fantasy team one week in PGF Season 1 and getting no points. Longar was undersized for Season 1 which led to some problems. Now, in Season 3, he’s going up against folks his size or at least closer to his size. Longar has great side-to-side passing and nice flowing jiu jitsu. As we’ve discussed on the PGF Insider podcast, Longar was winning his match against Mario Gaor for the first 4-5 minutes until Mario pulled out that double outside ashi ankle lock. It will be interesting to see Longar’s progression since Season 1. But with his small sample size of competition footage outside of the PGF, I can’t rank him higher than this spot.|
|17||Noah Randolph||Purple Belt, 10th Planet Decatur||If Noah actually drops this low, the coach who picks Noah will have the steal of the draft (however he did drop to 19 in the PGF Insider mock draft). Despite fairly recently turning 18, Noah is a beast. He was VERY hard to submit in PGF Season 1. Noah is the secret student Matt Skaff noted as the Ninja Choke Master in his Grappling Discourse podcast. The PGF Insiders have been told Noah may have been wrecking black belts who have been visiting 10th Planet Decatur. Like other competitors, it will be very interesting to see how his jiu jitsu has grown since Season 1. I’m also interested in seeing what he might learn from whichever coach picks him – he might vibe with one of the outside coaches and open up an entirely new game. Sure, that’s hard to cement in a week, but it could be very interesting.|
|18||Carlos Andres||Purple Belt, American Top Team Tuscaloosa||Carlos was an outlier at the Decatur qualifier. He had a deep run but was relatively unknown. He’s 5’5″, and only 145 lbs, making him the smallest competitor. But we saw a man who showed us great wrestling, scrambling, and leg locks. His combination of wrestling and leg locks should be interesting to watch. Like a few others, his lack of a significant sample size of viewable matches hurt his ranking.|
|19||Louis Collins||Purple Belt, 10th Planet Muscle Shoals||At 5’9, 150, he’s one of the smallest competitors. But he’s tough as nails. Louis is one of two competitors in PGF Season 1 to make Elijah Carlton settle for a break instead of a kill (Nilo doesn’t count as Elijah could’ve gotten that triangle). While he’s got serious defensive prowess, I’m not sure how much his offense will be able to take out these other competitors.|
|20||Matthew Boiles||Blue Belt, Scramble BJJ and Wrestling||At 5’9″, 155 lbs, Boiles is one of the smaller competitors. At 19 years old, he’s one of the youngest competitors. But, you will not beat his motor and pressure. This kid will attack even the seasoned black belts. He’s going to be in the running for match/highlight of the night whether he’s on top or getting dunked on. He attacks with knee slices continually and keeps his center of gravity ridiculously low, making it hard to sweep him. His enthusiasm and good-natured demeanor is infectious. It wouldn’t be improbable for him to tire out a higher ranked belt and sneak in a submission or two.|
|21||Marcus Elkins||Blue Belt, 10th Planet Decatur / Ironclad Wrestling||The tallest Elkins…Marcus is the brother of PGF competitors and now coaches Matt and Jake Elkins. Like his brothers before him, Marcus was an Alabama state champion wrestler. He’s relatively new to the jiu jitsu game as a blue belt. Marcus has very few jiu jitsu competitions under his belt, but he’s been grappling his whole life. If PGF Season 2 Block 12 gave us a window into life at the Elkins’ household, we have to believe Marcus was baptized by fire at an early age. Marcus has a good darce but seems very susceptible to leg attacks. We’ll see if his wrestling can supplement his burgeoning jiu jitsu.|
|22||Isaac Stackhouse||Purple Belt, 10th Planet Perry||The Wandering Grappler, the Rudy of the PGF. Isaac went to every qualifier and competed in all of them except the last one where he was put into service as the camera man. Isaac has more grit than anyone on this list (tip of the cap to Kevin Primeau). Isaac has competed with all sorts of injuries including a likely broken ankle. He’s an old school MMA fighter that transitioned to jiu jitsu. His wandering schtick is really just about seeking out the best instructors and training partners around. I’m a huge fan of Isaac, but having competed in so many qualifiers, he has a lot of losses to other folks on this list.|
|23||Josh Gibbs||Purple Belt, Nomad BJJ||Gibbs is a PGF Season 2 alumn. He had to bulk up to compete in that season and is now back at his normal size. While I characterized his jiu jitsu as traditional, he was a tough competitor. He’s been working on new techniques and as a certified trainer, you know he’s going to be in shape. In the qualifiers, I believe he has a loss to Stackhouse and lost to the Scarecrow of Doom in different qualifiers. He’s a great guy and a talented competitor. With the great coaches we have, they may see a way to tweak Gibbs’ jiu jitsu to get a lot more submissions – so he may make a team’s roster.|
|24||Keahi Makekau||Blue Belt, 10th Planet O’Fallon||Keahi is a PGF Season 1 alumn. He’s a student under Mario Gaor and a big part of their Instagram page. He only got one win in the PGF against the original Michael Johnson. Still, he went from loss to loss with enthusiasm which is a sign of a successful person. He’s upgraded to blue belt and showed much better defense and a little nice offense in the Austin qualifier. He’s interesting to see his progress but still probably one of the least experienced amongst the competitors.|
You can refer to the table below. Every night with matches, means three matches for each competitor (12 matches for each competitor in the season). The true weigh-in will not be streamed, only the ceremonial weigh-ins. All events other than the early weigh-in and the Finale will be streamed on BMAC’s YouTube Channel. The Finale will be available to for streaming at summitgrappling.tv.
|Tuesday 11 Jan||Wed|
|Fri 14 Jan||Saturday |
|1000||Weigh-in (not streamed)||LIVE DRAFT||Day Off|
|1200||Day Off||Finale begins (PPV)|
|5 pm||Pre-Show||Pre-Show||Pre-Show||Pre-Show||Day Off|
|6 pm||Ceremonial Weigh-in and Combine||Matches and Post-Show||Matches and Post-Show||Matches and Post-Show||Matches and Post-Show||Day Off|
The Finale will be held on Saturday, 15 January. It will take place at Epic Church in Decatur, AL. In this third season of the PGF, BMAC has partnered with Summit Grappling who will be providing 35 super-fight matches as an undercard. The Finale will begin at 1100. Fans can either order the PPV stream from summitgrappling.tv($29), or those who want to watch in person can order tickets online from summitgrappling.tv, or can purchase tickets at the event. General admission tickets are $35. Fans wanting to ensure their seats and be extra close to the action can pay $50 and reserve a specific seat in the first three rows of fans (yes, Egghead already has his ticket, front and center). The PGF portion of the Finale will include an eight-man, single-elimination bracket with seeding based on regular-season standings. As opposed to the last two seasons, matches will be using Eddie Bravo Invitational (EBI) rules with 10-minute matches. If no competitor scores the submission in regulation, the match will go to overtime where each competitor will take turns starting from a dominant position (back control or spider-web [arm bar]) – the winner will be chosen by the fastest submission or longest ride time. The final match to determine the winner will be no-time-limit, submission only.
EVERYONE GETS PAID! BMAC is very proud that every competitor will receive some money. Players will initially be paid by their draft round. First rounders will receive $750 each, $500 for second rounders, and $100 for those last rounders. Fans will also have the ability to tip the competitors – if fans like the performance of a competitor, they can give them money via YouTube’s superchat feature, making sure to designate who they want to receive the money. Season 3 also has BOUNTIES. Different sponsors and fans have been offering bounties for certain submissions – e.g. Toehold Flip Flops will be offering free pairs of their high-end flip flops for every competitor who gets a toehold submission. During the qualifiers, the bounty for a twister got up past $150. Finally, the competitors who have the most-exciting match each night will also receive a bonus payment.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this breakdown of PGF Season 3. Feel free to share it with friends so they can have most if not all their PGF Season 3 questions answered. As a final reminder, all the matches during the regular season are open for fans to watch in person. I’ll be at all of them. I hope to see some of you there.