by Samantha Schell
Jiu-Jitsu these days is everywhere, all the time, wherever you go. However, it’s pretty apparent
that not all Jiu-Jitsu competitions are created equal, and the more you compete, the more
discernible and evident this becomes. When it comes to large-scale high-level tournaments,
ones such as IBJJF and ADCC reign supreme. However, that doesn’t mean other tournaments
are subpar or not as well-equipped.
I have competed for both big-name tournaments and smaller, local tournaments, and I have had both positive and negative experiences with both. The same can be said for organizations when it comes to Brazilian Jiu -Jitsu superfights. Organizations such as Fight2Win and Who’s Number One often come to mind when people think of scheduled grappling matches, but there are countless organizations all across the country in which there are multiple opportunities to compete.
I have competed all across the country, for countless of superfight organizations, and I have to say that none fare better than the one most local to me in Durham, North Carolina – Toro Cup. Because of its closeness in proximity, I have been lucky enough to be privy to Toro Cup since its origins, all the way back to 2015. At the time, the local Jiu-Jitsu community was so small, there were only a handful of matches from the most active of local competitors.
Jiu-Jitsu started with a few integral people, mainly black belt and ‘Dirty Whitebelt’ podcast founder Jeff Shaw, black belt John ‘Bagels’ Telford, and a handful of others have contributed to its early success such as James ‘Boomer’ Hogaboom and Sean Zorio. Everyone from the photographers, to the referees, to the ticket-takers, are all a part of the local Jiu-Jitsu community in some form and the family feel has contributed to much of its success. They truly take care of not just their employees, but all of the athletes who agree to compete for them.
Over the years, Toro Cup has grown so exponentially, they have had big names and multi-time world champions compete, such as Joao Miyao, Gianni Grippo, ‘GiantSlayer’ Estevan Martinez, Alex Nguyen, Gabriel Sousa, and UFC fighters Allen Crowder, Joe Solecki, and Miranda Maverick. Plus, the ample amount of local competitors and up-and-comers on the scene as well who are itching to make their impact on the sport seen and heard.
I have been incredibly lucky to be in an area with not only tons of Jiu-Jitsu talent, but also a geographic region keen to put on an amazing Jiu-Jitsu superfight event with tons of talent. Because they have been active in the community for so many years, I have been able to watch the facilitation of its growth in numbers, talent, and funds raised for various organizations. They are one of the few organizations that keeps to such a tight schedule, always starting on time, and leaving no stone unturned.
Since its first event in 2015, Toro Cup has only grown exponentially in participants, sponsors, and even its reach as nowadays all the matches are streamed live on FloGrappling, run by a one-man tech team by a man named Tung Vu. What started out as a handful of matches in the early days with a smattering of audience of members, has expanded into a fully-fledged professional card live-streamed on one of the top BJJ apps for viewership and packed in-house attendees.
Because of its longevity in the local scene, it has reached the ears of some very high level Jiu-Jitsu people. Arguably one of the best commentators in the game, Kendall Reusing, has now made the trip to commentate live for the event on a couple of occasions. I was even lucky enough to speak with her at the last event, where she told me Toro Cup is one of the best organizations she has ever commentated for, and they truly take care of those that work for them. Sponsors have been clamoring to be seen and heard with such an incredible organization, and it’s only a matter of time before this event gets picked up by a really big one.
Toro Cup has many benefits to their organization, including the fact that every single person working for this promotion is not only active in Jiu Jitsu, but has competed on at least one of their cards. They also donate 50% of their profits to a charitable organization, and in the past have worked closely with Camp Royall (the oldest and largest camp for people with Autism located in NC), and SAFEchild North Carolina, which is a top level advocacy center in NC for children who experienced abuse of any kind.
It’s no wonder why their motto is ‘Live to Roll, Roll to Give’ and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Toro Cup. I can tell they are on the cusp of greatness, and any company would consider themselves lucky to be a part of their sponsorships before the opportunity is out of their grasp. The next event will be on August 5 th , and I eagerly anticipate the talent that will have matches on this card. Whether viewed live in person, or from the comfort of your home streaming device, there is no doubt this will be one event you don’t want to miss.
Follow them on Instagram: torocupbjj
Our printed magazine is full of extraordinary women with extraordinary stories, get your printed copy via mail today >