Since the No-Gi Worlds went down last weekend in Long Beach, Calif., there has been a growing discussion about the highly-controversial finals match between Jonathan “JT ” Torres and Augusto “Tanquinho” Mendes. The black belt lightweight final ended with Mendes earning a questionable advantage point as time expired to give him the win. Then, also at the same time, it appeared that the referees made a few mistakes where they never awarded JT an advantage for an attempted takedown attempt and penalized Torres for stalling, which many feel was unjust. The fact of the matter is that now, due to Lloyd Irvin calling out the referees and saying that they were showing favoritism towards “Tanquinho,” is there something that must be changed in the IBJJF referee system?

Mendes is a well-known competitor, but the black belt is also a regular IBJJF referee when not competing. This year at the Worlds, Mendes was actually the head ref of the absolute final between “Buchecha” and Leo Nogueira, where he worked alongside ref’s that judged his match last weekend. Also, Mendes is known to have plenty of friends inside the IBJJF referee system, which always makes people curious.

Never in Tanquinho’s years of competing had he ever had any controversy of favoritism with the referees until JT’s Master, Lloyd Irvin, made it be known on Facebook. In a long message that included a picture of Mendes alongside the head referee shortly after receiving his gold medal, Irvin called the IBJJF referees “corrupt” and that they show favoritism for their friend, Augusto Mendes.

On many Facebook posts, the debate has gone back and forth on whether Irvin’s comments were legible and fair, and eight days later the debate still goes on. Even Torres and Mendes have stated their own cases on their personal Facebook pages, each trying to prove that they deserved the win. The majority, so far, have been in favor of Torres.

But, either way, the debate goes, should the IBJJF do something to settle this controversy? The IBJJF cannot deny that Mendes has associated himself—and worked—with many of the main referees at the tournaments, so how can they guarantee that they haven’t shown any favoritism for him?

What many people believe the IBJJF should do is bring in a new set of referees who will have no association with any of the competitors, thus eliminating any controversy. Remember, earlier in the NFL season, one referee was removed from his duty in a game because he was claimed to be a Saints fan.

For the IBJJF and the sport of jiu-jitsu to grow, there must be some change made with the refereeing system or this could just be the start of something ugly down the road.

What do you think of this problem the IBJJF is suffering from? Is there any way the IBJJF can fix this situation? Comment below and let your voice be heard! Osss!

Photo: Torres and Mendes battle (Ivan Trindade/GracieMag)

About The Author

Gianni Grippo
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Contributor

Gianni Grippo is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Marcelo Garcia and trains at the Marcelo Garcia Academy in New York City. Besides being a big fan of the sport, Gianni is also an avid competitor and has ranked among the best in the World from blue to brown belt winning 6 IBJJF World titles and 7 Pan Championships. Still at 21, Gianni looks to continue to compete for many years to come as his main goals are to win the World championships at black belt and win the ADCC title.