The first thing I did when I got up this morning was watch Mackenzie Dern’s match against Gabi Garcia at ADCC. The second thing I did was send messages to several of my friends along the lines of “Wow, Dern beat Gabi?” with multiple interrobangs.
If your Facebook feed is anything like mine, 80 percent of the jiujitsu people you know seem to be reacting roughly the same way.
This isn’t too surprising: as I’ve written before, every great match has a great story behind it. “Much smaller person defeats imposing, seemingly unstoppable giant” has been a classic story since way before Hulk Hogan bodyslammed Andre. In fact, with all respect to the scriptural source of the name “Goliath,” this trope probably pre-dates the slingshot itself.
Plus, it was a fun match:
Many will say that the response to this match proves that Ralek Gracie has been wrong about saying Metamoris can’t afford to bring in women for matches, and those people will be right. But I want to take a different slant on that, partially because I try to look forward instead of backward, and partially because I do public relations for a living.
Practically everyone is talking about Gabi-Dern right now. With the world’s attention on this match, Metamoris has a serious opportunity to capitalize on that attention — and to earn back some goodwill from grappling fans.
If I were the Metamoris PR guy, I would tell Ralek that the world had given him a tremendous gift. I’d tell him to get on the phone with both Garcia and Dern right now and offer them a rematch at Metamoris in May.
For one thing, it would be a great match with a great story. Now that Gabi’s aura of invincibility has been punctured, people are more interested in her matches than ever; it’s extension of the great underdog story, where now the question becomes “can she do it again?”; they’re both in shape; Dern has nothing to lose, and Gabi probably wants redemption.
Finally, this gives Ralek Gracie himself a chance at a graceful withdrawal from his earlier comments. Ralek could give a statement that says “Wow, was I wrong: people are interested in women’s matches, and that’s why we’re bringing in these two great athletes.” Everybody wins. Remember when Dana White said women would never, ever fight in the UFC — and then he met Ronda Rousey? This could be that moment for Metamoris.
People are interested in matchups when they have great stories behind them. Right now, the world is thrilled because a dynamic underdog pulled on upset against a dominant force: imagine if we could see a repeat of that under submission-focused rules next month.
I’m interested in how the next chapter of the story ends: aren’t you?