As a few of you would know, I've been mulling around the idea of getting a regular grappling competition happening for quite some time now - something akin to a social basketball league for Victorian/Melbourne-based grapplers.
What I would like is a better understanding of the likely support out there: i.e. we'd require a critical mass of people to be able to run such events in the black.
If you're interested in getting involved with such a thing check out the website below (sorry about the ads, it's a free site) and hopefully we can make something happen.
"Would you consider something along the lines of soft MMA also or not?"
Sure. By the way drop me an email when you have a chance (email@example.com).
One thing to consider: I've already identified a heap of things that need to be resolved before getting ANY competition organised and I'd suspect that a MMA-style competition would have more issues to overcome relative to some more established forms of combat-sports (e.g., BJJ/Judo/Wrestling-style).
I'd suggest that if MMA-style competitions were your preference, maybe use the VICGrapple concept as the springboard for the same... ultimately if you've got the support (primarily financial but also participation and admin), venues/equipment and cover your bases (e.g., insurance) there is no reason not to run such events etc.
Insurance costs seems to be the key hurdle here. You can't leave yrslef open to claims, but people won't be thrilled about paying $200 for a tourney.
It's also woth mentioning that alough you want to run the events in the black (to avoid out of pocket expenses) any 'profit' might be used to update facilities, pay refs or similar (not for personal profit).
There is no way that I'll involve myself in such a venture if I felt that I hadn't sufficiently covered myself with respect to litigation etc.
I've got a few avenues re insurance that would make the whole exercise extremely affordable... I am thinking of competitions where you'll get 2+ bouts minimum at around $20-30.
As I understand it: the difficult thing re insurance is unless the event organisers have appropriate risk management/mitigation strategies in place, they could be sued etc on grounds of negligence and the insurer might say tough luck. Interesting thing to ponder...
As to "Profits": if only! I briefly covered the same in the FAQ on the website. My vision is running the whole thing as an Incorporated Sports Association, which implies among other things:
Members aren't in it to make a profit;
Profits that are made belong to the Association; and
The Association can seek Non-Profit tax status etc.
Teams of 3-5 individuals, any belt or weight compete against one another over six bouts. Using a sliding scale, Team Points are awarded depending on how bouts are won, as follows:
Victory Via Submission (Winner 5 Team Points/Loser 0 Team Points)
Victory Via Technical Superiority (first to 10pts) (W5/L1)
Victory Via Point Superiority (Loser scores no points) (W4/L2)
Victory Via Points (Loser scores some points) (W4/L3)
Tie - no Team Points are awarded.
At the start of each Bout a one (1) point Handicap is applied for each four kilograms difference between the players (rounded down) to a maximum of 8-point handicap and Teams work out their player's bout order independently - i.e. making educated guesses as to whom you want to match up could make a difference.
Once you've dropped me an email I'll send you a example of the (proposed) rules in action.
I would have to talk with Dave and Cam at Dominance but I reckon Dominance could get 2 teams depending on how loose you are with allowing people to replace others half way through the season or for when the usual guys can't make it.
That's a good idea Jason, I like it. Something to consider regarding insurance, and I'm not sure how it would work...but when I was in LA I was lucky enough to go to a gathering at the Dog Brothers club.
No. 2 dog stated to the video camera...and to everyone there " you are here of your own choice, whether as a competitor or in the audience. There is a good chance you may be injured, if you feel this is a risk you do not wish to take, leave. If you stay, you void any right to sue anyone, in any way, for any reason".
The format of fighting was by agreeance of each fighter and could range from full contact stick fighting, to NHB, or just sub grappling...or any of these combos. Now if this works in the land of litigation, perhaps we could do the same????
Regarding managing Litigation: it has to be tackled on on a number of fronts.
Firstly, the event organisers need to do everything they can to make it safe for participants etc - not doing so leads to negligence claims that typically aren't covered by insurance. Things that need be considered would include access to first aid, ref training, safety procedures etc. Unless such things are formally documented, available and enforced they won't mean squat.
Secondly, if the event is linked to an individual then that person need be adequately protected. Insurance should go without saying (PI and PL at a minimum). A way to mitigate such risks is to create/align with a Incorporated (sporting) Association - the structure of IAs provides members with additional protection.
Thirdly(?), things like waivers etc need to be investigated, assessed and administered. Video recordings (BTW I like the idea!) etc couldn't hurt the cause however won't mean squat if it comes down to inadequate safety etc (i.e. negligence - see above). Along similar lines is competitors could/should be required to become Association members and membership is only granted after two weeks(?) have elapsed, enabling to potential competitor ample opportunity to make a risk assessment (e.g., talking to their doctor, lawyer, etc) of the event and whether they want to participate etc.
"No. 2 dog stated to the video camera...and to everyone there " you are here of your own choice, whether as a competitor or in the audience. There is a good chance you may be injured, if you feel this is a risk you do not wish to take, leave. If you stay, you void any right to sue anyone, in any way, for any reason"."
Cam, that will not work in the court of law in Australia (technically it wouldn't have worked in the US either if someone had sued). It doesn't stop people from using disclaimers like that though and the practice of issuing and making people sign these types of disclaimers continues. There are a number of cases on record of people winning against disclaimers like that in the past. It all comes down to how much negligence was involved in the accident, and the level of liability expressed in law of torts, and it comes down to how good a lawyer the plaintiff has on his/her side.
If you really want to protect yourself, you MUST show that as the organiser/school, you have done everything you can to protect the participants/students, be well informed and well aware of every safety precaution/regulation/rules and do your best to conform to them, make sure every student is has been informed of the safety protocols and follow them, and basically dot any other "i's" and cross the "t's".
Even so insurance is essential. You may still be liable even if the accident was another student's fault.
Thanks for all the expressions of interest etc to date - I really feel as though we're tapping into the necessary support to make something happen.
Already it appears that we already have the necessary player support: indicative numbers would suggest about six or more Teams already. A great start!
Also there are a number of ideas floating around with respect to venues, equipment (mats) and insurance - already some people have made some generous offers with respect to the above and I've also been made aware of some additional issues that will require resolution down the track... but that's all in the future.
Just had an email from a Tassie guy I know who is interested in the concept too - whilst having a Tassie Team regularly entering a Victorian-based competition might be asking a bit much, maybe there's an opportunity to start something similar in Tassie (TASGrapple anyone?). You Tassie players know how to get hold of me if you want to discuss it some.
next week I will be posting(?) two additions to the VICGrapple website: illustrative examples of the Teams event and an actual Bout. These will give you a good idea of the specific rules etc that I propose are adopted.