Is Craig Jones Done Competing In EBI Rules?

It sounds like Craig Jones may be done with competitions that include EBI rules. In a recent statement on reddit, Jones revealed he doesn’t like “training overtime rounds whether that be golden score or EBI.” 

His last EBI ruleset match was against Mason Fowler in their trilogy bout on SUG 17. In that match, Jones lost by rear-naked choke in overtime. The loss sparked anger in the grappling community. People complained that Fowler stalled during regulation so he could get a shot at Jones in overtime. They say he was looking to take advantage of a position that he couldn’t gain during regulation. (Although, it is important to note that both grapplers are afforded this opportunity.)

The outrage from fans led me to contact Fowler. Fowler told me he agreed that he “played the rules” to get the win. His mindset was that Jones also had this chance, and there was a lot of money on the line. He said he was playing to win. 

I then wrote an article about our conversation. The article was posted to reddit and this is where Jones shared his opinions on Fowler’s win and his thoughts on matches that utilize the EBI overtime. Here is what he had to say.

Craig Jones On EBI Rules

“A win is a win. The man beat me fair and square. If I sat here and criticized the rules, I wouldn’t be focusing on what actually improves my game.

That being said, I’d be lying if I wasn’t considering declining future SUG matches until they extend the regulation length. This is for my own personal enjoyment. I hate training overtime rounds. Whether that be the golden score or EBI.“

Why EBI Rules Exist

It seems the grappling community has mixed feelings with the EBI rulesets that Jones is referring to. When they first were made popular by Eddie Bravo in his EBI tournaments, it felt like he had come up with a solution to a long-time problem: matches determined by uninspiring advantage points in the scoring system or by the subjectivity that comes with a judge’s decision.

With Bravo’s ruleset, the match became clear cut. Competitors won by submission or ride time. It was mathematical. There was very little controversy. 

But now, grapplers are more savvy to the rules and the overtime positions of Spiderweb and Back Mount. They have become experts at winning in these two positions. Some people prefer to disengage during the regulation time to get to the positions that they didn’t achieve on their own. This is now being viewed negatively.

There are some who still enjoy the EBI overtime. In fact, Bravo has events where this is the whole competition. In these, he has done away with regulation time all together and the match is decided solely in overtime positions.

But in events like SUG, where the idea is to watch two of the best grapplers face off to determine who is the best, nobody wants the match to go to overtime. We want to see what plays out organically. 

Some ask: “Why not just do all No Gi matches ADCC style?” That means half the match is sub-only and the other half comes down to points. While I feel this is the best ruleset, there are those who can’t get on board with points. 

Solution For SUG

So we have EBI overtime — an ever-present lurker of the SUG matches. If we must have no points and no judges’ decision, then EBI is the solution. But SUG needs to adjust its regulation time. Five minutes is very little time to mount an offense against someone who is determined to disengage. 

Otherwise, the promoter runs the risk of losing fans and competitors like Jones, who says he may be done with it.

Josh Clopton

Josh Clopton is a UFC veteran and Jiu Jitsu black belt. In 2005 he left his job in Tulsa, Okla. and moved to San Francisco to pursue fighting. While trying to break into the UFC, he worked on a commercial crab fishing boat to make ends meet. Josh earned his black belt under Jake Shields in 2016 and now helps train other fighters and has been the chief cornerman in over 20 UFC fights. He teaches at El Nino Training Center and also for companies such as Google, YouTube and LinkedIn. He is an avid reader, writer and outdoorsman.

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