Polaris Professional Grappling Invitational has announced its first Female-only Grand Prix, with a grand prize of $20,000.
Europe’s premier grappling invitational, Polaris, announced on social media that their next Grand Prix event will be a female-led Grand Prix, due in March 2023.
Female Representation in BJJ
The move comes from mounting pressure in the BJJ community for professional invitationals such as Polaris to showcase more female fighters in the sport.
While there are already female-lead events such as Enyo, an independent female-only grappling invitation in the UK, and Medusa, a female combat Jiu-Jitsu event in the states, this is a big shift towards larger professional, organisations such as Polaris giving an equal opportunity to male and female athletes.
We are pleased to announce our next event, set for March 11, 2023. Venue will be announced soon, along with tickets on sale.
Following on from our successful Grand Prix, we will be hosting a women’s Grand Prix under the same conditions. This is the biggest prize money for grappling in Europe.
We will also be holding at least one Contenders, to allow women from the UK and Europe to compete for their spot on the Grand Prix, fighting it out in front of a packed crowd exclusively on UFC Fight Pass. More details on that to be announced soon.
And as usual, we are currently putting together an incredible superfight and a stacked prelims.
PS – We are heading Up North for this one. Once venue and tickets are announced, do not hang around, as our last show sold out.
Announced Polaris on Instagram.
We reached out to Polaris co-creator Matthew Benyon for a statement.
“We are very excited about our inaugural women’s Grand Prix,” said Matthew”. “Our last event – the men’s – was very successful, and we are hoping to replicate it with the tremendous groundswell of support from the jiujitsu community.
The level of skill and talent that the women at the top levels of jiujitsu display is just incredible, and we look forward to welcoming them to the Polaris mats and watching them battle it out for the biggest prize in European grappling.
Although we have always supported women in jiujitsu, with high-profile superfights and a fair payment structure, it’s time to take it to the next level. We look forward to seeing the women on the mats, and the community, rising to the occasion.”
While there has been mounting tension regarding the lack of female representation in the sport, the charge to initiate change in the sport was headed by Ffion Davies. The IBJJF World Champion and ADCC Champion jumped on social media before the last Polaris Grand Prix to announce her displeasure about there only being one female match, on the undercard.
After this post went viral, pages such as Women Who Fight and other professional female athletes also used their voices to call out the grappling invitational.
We reached out to Ffion about this announcement:
“I’m so proud to see Polaris champion women’s jiu-jitsu in a way we haven’t seen from any other promotion in Europe,” said Ffion. “It’s an honor to be a part of the show, and to see them take on the criticism, listen, and not shy away from it is so commendable.”
A History of Misrepresentation in BJJ
This is not the first time that women have been misrepresented in BJJ, currently, ADCC only has two female divisions under 66kg and over 66kg. A disparency that has seen athletes give up huge weight differences in these divisions. This comes with the men’s division having 5 divisions.
ADCC is also guilty of underpaying athletes. The men’s winners get $10,000 for winning their weight class and $40,000 for winning the absolute. While the women only get $6,000 for winning their division and no absolute.
This is also true for UAEJJF who pay $15,000 to the winner of the male black belt division and only $10,000 to the winner of the female black belt division.
However, this is not the case for Polaris, who are offering equal prize money for both women and men. With a staggering $20,000 for the winner, this is the largest single prize in Jiu-Jitsu for women.