If you are a long-time fan of jiu-jitsu and/or submission grappling you may have noticed that the refereeing body of the ADCC (Abu Dhabi Combat Club) is very distinct from that of the IBJJF (International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation), in which the majority of officials is of Brazilian nationality.
Although the ADCC’s roots are strongly embedded in United Arab Emirates soil, the promotion has a long-standing tradition of employing Scandinavian judges, Finnish referees to be precise. This Middle Easter-European exchange started around the 2003 year mark and continuously developed, with the unlikely bond being first established by Marko Leistén, a jiu-jitsu black belt from Finland who has been engaged with the ADCC in a senior management capacity for many years, currently holding the rank of ADCC Europe President.
Leistén has done an excellent job at preparing a strong refereeing body in his home country for many years and given the complexity of the ADCC ruleset, good judges are far and few between. Finns are also well known for the social construct of “sisu”, a word that represents character traits such as: stoic determination, resilience, and hardiness; with these traits being strongly valued and fomented in the region – all excellent qualities to have when refereeing.
For these reasons, the ADCC World Championships have consistently sought out the services of these gentlemen.
ADCC World Championship 2019
Date: 28-29 September
Location: Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, California
Live Stream: FloGrappling