Grappling Report: Sonnen reveals why Submission Underground disappeared, slams UFC Fight Pass

Ever wondered what happened to Submission Underground? Check out a rundown of the biggest headlines and news from the world of jiu-jitsu and competitive grappling.

By: Alex Lindsey | 5 months ago
Grappling Report: Sonnen reveals why Submission Underground disappeared, slams UFC Fight Pass

What happened to Submission Underground?

Submission Underground was one of the most popular professional grappling events around and they played host to top competitors like Mason Fowler and Craig Jones on a regular basis. With Chael Sonnen at the helm, the promotion went from strength to strength over the course of five years and had built up a large following ahead of Submission Underground’s 29th event at the end of 2021. They even became one of the few promotions to continue staging events throughout the pandemic.

Then after SUG 29, there was nothing. There was no news on any future Submission Underground events and no explanation as to why either.

Sonnen recently appeared on the first episode of Craig Jones’ podcast and at one point the host asked him about the elephant in the room. Sonnen explained that it wasn’t actually his choice to stop promoting grappling events and a bad interaction with UFC Fight Pass led to him pivoting to staging MMA events instead.

“There’s only so many places you can go, and we had a deal with (UFC) Fight Pass and, you know, we had hard feelings,” Sonnen told Craig Jones (transcript via jits magazine). “Basically we had hard feelings. We brought them content during a pandemic. There’s a lot that goes into that and… we had made a deal. We also made a deal of ‘oh, here’s how we’re going to do it’ and, you know, they forgot the deal.

“They told us ‘you got that in writing?’ and that is not what it’s like to do business with Dana White. You do not have to have it in writing, you just have a verbal. So I could have gone to him and said ‘man, these guys…’ but I didn’t, I let it go. I think for ego reasons.

“These two knuckleheads that run Fight Pass on the position of ‘who’s worked or got where’ in an industry. I mean, these two? These are knuckleheads,” Sonnen said.

“So I couldn’t allow my ego to show that they had ruined my day. Because I couldn’t do that, I lost a distribution partner. I thought I was going to have a new one, we were talking with Flo(Grappling), then Khabib (Nurmagomedov) looked like he was going to take it through Eagle FC. They were doing it and they had that app, they were putting on events all the time, and I thought we were going to go over there and one thing got stalled to the next, and to the next, and here we are… Still looking to satisfy that.”

Marcus ‘Buchecha’ Almeida booked for next MMA fight

It’s a busy time for BJJ star Marcus ‘Buchecha’ Almeida right now, as he’s fresh off attending the premier of a new documentary about his life and career in combat sports. Straight off that he’s headed back to the training room in order to prepare for the next fight of his professional MMA career at ONE Championship. His new opponent is actually an old one, as he’s been booked to compete against Oumar ‘Reug Reug’ Kane on two separate occasions before.

Buchecha already has a perfect 4-0 record and he’s finished every one of his opponents in the first round, whereas Kane is 5-1 with four impressive finishes. With how well both men’s careers have started, it’s not impossible to imagine that this will serve as a title-eliminator in the ONE Championship heavyweight division. Whoever wins here will definitely be able to make a great case for a shot against the winner of the title-unification bout between Arjan Bhullar and Anatoly Malykhin.

The Mendes brothers open second Art of Jiu-Jitsu location

Rafael and Guilherme Mendes were two of the best competitors on the planet at one point in time and they shocked the BJJ world in the mid 2010s when they abruptly retired at the peak of their respective careers. Since then they’ve both been hard at work behind the scenes at their academy, Art of Jiu-Jitsu, building the next generation of elite grapplers. They did things a little differently to most by building from the ground up and working with young children almost exclusively.

Over the last few years that approach has been paying off in a huge way, as they’ve produced phenomenal talents like Tainan Dalpra, Jessa Khan, and Cole Abate. With an incredible competition team and squads of junior athletes working their way up the rankings, it’s time for them to expand. The Mendes brothers have announced that they’ll be opening up a second Art of Jiu-Jitsu location and they have the resources to double their efforts in coaching top talent.

Doctor Paulo Muzy gives opinion on Mica Galvao suspension

The BJJ world was shocked recently when one of the most exciting young talents in the sport, Mica Galvao, was stripped of his IBJJF world championship and suspended from IBJJF competition for one year. The failed PEDs test would undoubtedly have been newsworthy regardless, but this particular case was even more shocking given that Galvao was still a teenager. In the days after his suspension was announced, he gave context to the situation.

According to Galvao, the positive test for Clomiphene came from treatment that was legitimately prescribed by his doctor. That’s why his suspension was significantly shorter than many would expect, as the arbitration process confirmed his claims. Fans were still sceptical about the test-failure regardless, so now one of the world’s most popular doctors in the field, Paulo Muzy, has given his expert opinion on Galvao’s test results.

Quick Hits

Technique Corner

Three submissions from the Quad Pod position

Alternative finish for the Bow & Arrow Choke

John Wayne sweep from Half-guard

Meme of the Week

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About the author
Alex Lindsey
Alex Lindsey

Alex has been involved in BJJ and MMA since 2008 and has been writing about both sports since 2019.

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