Blue Belt World Champion Varun Mehrotra Critiques 2021 IBJJF Worlds

Varun Mehrotra is just a blue belt, but jiu-jitsu fans worldwide should take note of his name. The outspoken Unity Jiu-Jitsu representative is fresh off a gold medal performance at the 2021 Worlds, and at just 20 years old, has an incredibly bright future ahead of him.

Mehrotra recently appeared on the Open Guardcast and spoke about a variety of topics, including the atmosphere at Unity, his thoughts on Worlds, the controversy surrounding Nicholas Meregali’s disqualification, and his aspirations outside of jiu-jitsu.

On his preparation for Worlds at Unity Jiu-Jitsu under the guidance of Murilo Santana:

[At Unity], the preparation was more based around getting my body physically ready because I think we already knew that I had the technical level to win Worlds. I wasn’t getting as much technical guidance but I was getting a lot more guidance in terms of… Murilo [Santana] would give me a different schedule every week for my training, just to keep me in physically good shape and make sure I didn’t get injured, especially as I was cutting weight. That’s what I did most.

On winning by advantage:

I find that roosterweights are a little scared to actually just, like, put it out there. You even see it, dudes trying to play the cheeky advantage thing. I’m talking shit now but I’ll probably end up doing that a few years from now. I feel like people fight a little scared.

The 2021 Worlds were held in Anaheim, causing some to complain. Mehrotra gives his thoughts on the tournament:

The actual competition, like when you’re competing, felt f****** great. It felt like Worlds. On the outside it looked like dog s***… Local comps back home had more energy than this one. It was kind of sad to be honest… The overall tournament, I guess it was alright. There wasn’t really much to it. It’s good that Worlds is back but it was a really s***** Worlds. I haven’t even been to Worlds before and I thought it was s*****.

At the 2021 Worlds, Nicholas Meregali was disqualified from the absolute final after making a lewd gesture a match. Mehrotra gives his thoughts on that situation:

I mean, the rules are the rules, right? If i’m updating the rulebook for the IBJJF, I say let them f****** flip each other off… Maybe it’s just the hooligan in me. It’s alright, he just stuck up the middle finger… He didn’t do anything that’s actually bad, and they let criminals f****** compete. Is that worse than saying f*** you to someone?… That made the Worlds even s*****, f****** no open weight final.

On life beyond jiu-jitsu:

I don’t fully enjoy the sport of jiu-jitsu all that much. What I really like about it is… I like training really hard, obviously winning, if you’re doing Worlds… The thing that I really like about jiu-jitsu the most is the community… I’m not that in love with jiu-jitsu where I have to do it every day otherwise I’ll go crazy.

Ben Coate

Ben has been involved with grappling, whether through wrestling or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, essentially his entire life. After wrestling throughout his childhood, Ben found Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a young adult and quickly fell in love. He has been training for over ten years and currently holds the rank of brown belt, and remains involved in both the MMA and BJJ scene. Ben has been writing about combat sports since 2017. He has interviewed and profiled some of MMA's biggest stars, including multiple UFC champions.

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