Interview With Hamilton BJJ Open Promoter Mike Paiva
Grappling Industries caught up with Mike Paiva of the Hamilton BJJ Open recently, and asked him about Hamilton’s market, tournament’s professionalism, and where he looks to go right in the Hamilton BJJ Open taking place at Player’s Paradise Sports Complex on June 14th.
Grappling Industries: Mike, tell us first and foremost why you felt like this was the time to bring a tournament to Hamilton?
Mike Paiva: Ever since I began training and competing, all I’ve ever heard is people say about Hamilton’s BJJ tournament market were like as “good tournaments, but nothing beats the old Joslin’s Open” which was Hamilton’s mainstream tournament for a long while. That definitely intrigued me. I was presented with the opportunity to finally bring a tournament back to Hamilton and I accepted right away. I believe Joslin’s showed what a powerful market Hamilton can be and I plan to put on the most complete competition experience possible for the competitors.
Grappling Industries: What is unique about Hamilton’s destination in your opinion that made the Joslin’s Open successful and at the same time is such a fighting market?
Mike Paiva: I believe Hamilton is a powerful market due to it being within short driving distance of the BJJ capital of Ontario (Toronto), while also managing to be super close to other hot spots such as Buffalo and other areas such as upstate New York, London, the Niagara region, and many more.
Grappling Industries: What is going to make this Hamilton event unique from the Joslin’s Open and bring the competitive BJJ community back to Hamilton?
Mike Paiva: I expect the Hamilton open to capture the attention of many high level competitors around the area the way the Joslin’s Open did, but present the excellent organization and near flawless round robin system that Grappling Industries has developed. We want to give the competitors in this region an opportunity to fight so the round robin system will help us accomplish this.
Grappling Industries: This is your first time promoting a large sized event although in the past you have worked on in-houses, who are some of your major partners in putting on this event?
Mike Paiva: I will be working closely with David Aguzzi who is as experienced as they come when it comes to promoting a successful tournament. I will also consult with Jeff Wellwood who is a very high level marketing specialist who will be able to assist me promotionally and doing what’s best for competitors. I also plan to talk to many coaches and competitors over the coming months to get their feedback and opinions. They are the reason the tournament is being put on so they deserve to have a voice.
Grappling Industries: Every tournament seems to bring something unique to the table that they do well; what do you think so of the big tournaments execute well on to keep people coming back?
Mike Paiva: I believe the IBJJF has done very well in establishing themselves as “professional ” tournaments. People consider IBJJF events to be the biggest and most important stage and I think that’s possible due to how well the IBJJF has been able to establish their version of “Worlds” and “Pan Ams”. NAGA runs similar events but comes nowhere near the prestige of said events that the ibjjf runs due to certain factors in the way they are organized and present their events.
Grappling Industries: What makes a tournament professional, and in your example what would NAGA need to do to be as good as IBJJF?
Mike Paiva: I believe the two keys to giving a tournament a professional feel are organization and presentability. I believe the IBJJF and even the smaller Grappling Industries are similar in this respect as they share very important qualities such as: -Referees dressed professionally -Barricades to keep competitors / spectators where they need to be -Excellent organization and control of the event itself.
Grappling Industries: What are some of the opposite factors from those you described that can actually ruin a tournament in your opinion?
Mike Paiva: If tournaments lack organization to a point where competitors leave without even getting to compete due to frustration at the lateness, you’ve failed as a promoter regardless if you still made money or not. I also believe barricades are important to keep the competition area safe and spacious.