Last weekend, (Aug. 30,) Mason Fowler earned a second victory over Craig Jones at SUG 17. This time, he did it without controversy. After five minutes of submission-only grappling, these two took turns attempting to ride or tap the other in overtime. In the second round, Fowler had Jones’ back and squeezed using a ‘backpack’ grip. The pressure forced the ADCC silver medalist to physically tap. Even though the submission was declared a rear naked choke, it was clear that it was more of a spine/neck crank.
There was no controversy in this match, yet people are still angry. After publishing an article about Fowler’s win, the response was Fowler “played the rules” to get the victory. They believe he avoided action in the regulation period with hopes of catching Jones in overtime.
Fowler does not deny he used the rules to his advantage. He felt that there was too much on the line not to. This begs the question: Is it ok to use the rules to get the win? I called Fowler to talk about this very idea. Here is our discussion.
GI: How are you feeling after your match?
Fowler: Good, but my body is a little beat up and tired from the training camp and the actual match.
GI: The submission you got wasn’t a rear naked choke. It looked more like a spine and neck crank.
Fowler: I don’t really know. I saw the pictures and it looks like I’m choking him with the seatbelt grip. I asked him after the match if it was the choke or the crank that made him tap, but he didn’t know. It was choking him, but there was definitely pressure on his back.
GI: When you were applying that pressure, were you thinking it was going to make him tap? Or were you just trying to control him?
Fowler: I have actually submitted people with that move before. But in the match it got to another level. I was trying to make him miserable. I wanted to make sure he was dead tired.
GI: I wrote an article about the result and a lot of people complain that you were just ‘playing to the rules’. But I feel like this is what everybody does when they compete in different rulesets. Whether it be IBJJF or ADCC or SUG. You play to win.
Fowler: Yes definitely. I’m not stupid. I had so much on the line against Jones. I was going to do whatever I had to do to win. Now that I got the win, I think it validates the last match I had against him that was controversial. With everything on the line, including money, of course I am going to play to win. I also think that may have been how our last match would have went if the ref wouldn’t have stepped in.
As you can see, Fowler is not shy about his gameplan. In a supermatch like this, the winner brings home more money. There is not a lot of money in Jiu Jitsu competitions, so I don’t fault him for doing whatever he needed. Like it or not, he now has two wins over Jones. But with more shows and competitions, it’s likely we will get to see these two square up again. It will be interesting to see if Jones will utilize similar techniques to even the score between them.