After a fighter gets cut from a major organization, be it the UFC, Bellator or Strikeforce, options for what to do next seem limited. Many continue to compete in smaller shows on the regional circuit in an attempt to return to the big stage. Others venture into fight businesses of their own, such as training or promoting fighters. The rest just seem to fade into obscurity and insignificance.

Antwain Britt, who has not competed in MMA since his last appearance in Strikeforce in November 2011, is far from insignificant. In addition to owning his own gym and building the next generation of fighters, he is also an active fundraiser promoting non-profit amateur boxing events to raise money and awareness for important issues such as homelessness, abuse, cancer and wounded-veterans organizations. But the most significant move he’s made recently to advance his fight game was to become a competitive grappler. But not just any kind of grappler. He became an ADCC 2013 World Championships competitor.

How Britt secured his spot in the +99 kg (218-pound and above) heavyweight bracket was no easy task.

“I have the opportunity to refer the names of athletes from our country, and a spot opened up in the heavyweight division, so I sent them three names,” Carlos Carvalho, the Executive Officer of the USA ADCC Federation, said. But referring names is only half the battle, as someone higher on the food chain makes the call. So Carvalho spoke to Peter Baltaliyski, President of the North American ADCC Federation. “I called Peter, and because of Antwain’s background in wrestling and jiu-jitsu and MMA, they liked him and liked him for the sport. So that’s how he got it.”

Britt, who walks around at about 220 pounds, said the competitors there “were all bigger than me.” Even Dean Lister, who took second place in the -99 kg, “looked huge.” But if size was one side of the coin, then attitude was the other.

“Because no one knew what weight class I was in at first, everybody was giving me looks,” Britt said. “Once we started warming up, it got real, because everyone was staking their claim on the mat and rolling on top of each other, no matter what weight class.”

“That’s because of the absolute division,” Carvalho added.

The absolute division takes the best grapplers from the two-day event, regardless of weight class, and has them compete for a second chance at gold. Britt was hoping to have a good showing in the +99 kg and have the chance at the absolute division as well, but it just wasn’t in the cards.

While things didn’t go exactly as planned and Britt lost his first bout to Finish grappler Janne Pietilainen, he did not walk away from the event bitter. He vowed to continue on this path. In fact, all he had to say about Pietilainen was that he would “like another crack at that one.” And as competitive as people seemed during the event, everyone was friendly and open after.

“It was crazy, because I’m having breakfast and right in front of me is Rickson and Kron Gracie, and next to me is Dean Lister, who I’d met before, but only briefly,” Britt said. “So it was cool to get to really know each other like this.”

Britt hopes to return to the next ADCC World Championship, but has no desires to return to China anytime soon.

“I’m not going back. It wasn’t that it was bad, but let’s just say that if I went there on vacation and paid for this trip myself, I’d be pissed,” Britt admitted. Aside from the air pollution and attitude of the people in the city, there were bigger problems, especially to a fighter. “All they eat is carbs, no meat. And the meat is either chicken or other. You get a Big Mac combo and it’s a chicken sandwich, and the burgers are either soy or something, I don’t know, but I know it wasn’t beef.”

The road to ADCC 2015 won’t be an easy one. To prove he still belongs among the world’s most elite grapplers, Britt must first get past Jeff Monson. The two are scheduled to meet in a superfight at an ADCC event in Charleston, W.Va., on Dec. 7. Size may have been a disadvantage for Britt in Beijing, but he feels it won’t be an issue against Monson.

“Yeah, he’s a bigger guy, but he’s stocky, and I feel like I’m the quicker, more athletic fighter,” Britt said. “Either way, it’ll be a good fight.”

Not quite ready to fully retire from MMA, Britt is definitely focused on the world of ADCC grappling, since it is the opportunity that is present at the moment. Of course, if he was offered the chance to take on Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, he would take it.

“I would fuck Rampage up,” Britt declared.

It’s unlikely we’ll see that match-up, but it’s an interesting one to think about. Of course, it’s just as exciting to think that Britt might be facing off against Kron Gracie, a man he just had breakfast with last weekend, in the future. After all, Gracie is a far more likely match-up.

Not many fighters get a second chance on the world’s stage, and there’s probably only a handful of fighters who were afforded the opportunity to make their professional grappling debuts on the biggest stage of them all. As far as second chances go, this one has to rank near the top.

Photo: Antwain Britt (top) (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)