US Grappling’s Submission Only tournament format boldly proclaims, “No points, no time limits, no excuses.” While this is designed to catch the eye of the reader and cause an emotional response, the fact remains that there is simply no more definitive outcome in all of sports than a match which requires that you beat an opponent by submission. Not thoroughly convinced? Consider what else is out there:
Imagine a boxing match where knockout was the only way to win, and there weren’t any rounds. You’d see guys slugging it out and nearly killing one another (some of the time), and fighters would be able to fight perhaps once a year in order to get such a definitive victory. “Knockout Only” could certainly be a definitive victory for the boxer, but it’s hardly a sustainable model for a competition.
How about wrestling? You could certainly have a “pin only” wrestling tournament, but there most definitely is some subjectivity (and plenty of room for human error) with the refereeing. What if your shoulders aren’t actually on the mat, but from the ref’s vantage point, he believes both shoulders are pinned?
With a submission only tournament, there is simply no way to present a valid argument against your loss, other than possibly saying you didn’t tap.
Team sports are even worse with restrictions on what has to happen, how it has to happen, and (most importantly) when it has to happen. People argue over basketball, baseball, soccer, football… “The refereeing was terrible! Some awful calls.”
“But matches will take all day! It can’t be done on anything other than an extremely small scale!” We beg to differ, and so does statistical analysis from over 20 Submission Only tournaments, with more than 5000 matches, where the average match length is 8 minutes. Sure, you’re going to have anomalies, just like with any event. There will be some matches that last more than 20 minutes, and a small handful of matches that could last longer than an hour (usually 2 or 3 matches per event), but for every long match, there are several very short matches.
Which brings us to the main point: adding time limits to any sport is going to change the dynamic completely. People are going to stall just to survive, and then brag about surviving for however long the match time limit was. Sure, not everyone is going to view a draw as a win, and some tournaments have elected to eliminate both competitors if there is no submission within the time limit. Nevertheless, the dynamic of knowing that all you have to do is hang on definitely changes strategy in a way that is not conductive to truly hunting for the submission.
Enjoy the purest form of combat in existence. US Grappling runs Submission Only events that are the real deal. There are never any time limits, and every single match will have a decisive outcome. No other style of tournament can hope to promise this.