Last week, my phone exploded.
I had been sent or tagged in a video dozens of times, which was unusual because at the time I was spending most of my day hailing cabs and catching flights. At first I thought that perhaps the “Go inverted!” scene from Top Gun was getting a new wave of attention, which always means that the Inverted Gear page gets a flood of GIFs and memes.
Nope, that wasn’t it. The video was a Metamoris commercial making a joke about how Ralek owes his competitors money. Maybe their commercial budget was limited because they forgot to make a joke about the tournament staff that they owe money for as well.
The community response to the commercial seems to be split, but here’s a spoiler: I didn’t laugh. Hillary and I helped to run a Metamoris Challenger event, and we haven’t been paid, and neither has one of our friends that worked the event with us. I suspect that we’re not alone in this. That makes me pretty biased.
What’s funny about not paying competitors and staff in a sport that’s notorious difficult to make a living in?
Let’s go down the line: Metamoris has failed to pay athletes and workers, has dragged their feet on refunding people that were double-charged or charged after they cancelled their Metamoris subscription, and refused to refund entry fees for competitors who signed up for the Challenger Series and had their venues changed to different dates and states. Why would anybody work with them at this point?
In our case, we have been told that payment is coming on about six different occasions. I really don’t care if we get paid anymore. We’re fortunate enough that our running the tournament was not essential to paying our bills. We used it as an excuse to visit friends in Brooklyn and to drink some picklebacks.
What does bother me, however, is that many of my friends who supplement their income working at tournaments struggled to make ends meet that month because they worked that tournament instead of a different one going on that weekend. They were promised money was coming after we didn't get it after the tournament. Then we were told 30 days. Then we were told 30 business days. Then the next month. And then eventually that we would paid following the sales of the next Metamoris event.
So the question is when do we stop supporting a bad promotion/promoter? Metamoris was not the first BJJ PPV and will not be the last. Submission X, Grapplers Quest, and Ultimate Absolute have come and gone. Polaris, the Eddie Bravo Invitational, and Copa Podio are doing great things, and I hope continue to do so.
As a community, if we really believe in the things we say about jiu-jitsu giving us a common ground and bringing us together, how can we sit back and give someone a pass because they made a funny video?
Instead, let’s support the organizations that take care of our jiu-jitsu brothers and sisters.