Nicky Rodriguez is one of the most popular grapplers in the sport and a two-time ADCC silver medallist, but apparently the promotion actually changed their rules because of him in the past. It’s a relatively common practice in all sports in fact, because no ruleset could ever be considered perfect and there are always ways to improve upon them. In many cases, the best ways to improve a ruleset don’t become apparent until the holes within them play out in real-time. Once one or more people manage to exploit a certain aspect of a ruleset then putting in a change to neutralise that exploit is generally a good idea.
The conversation about ADCC changing their rules because of Nicky Rodriguez came about when he asked his teammate Nicky Ryan if he ever played on his knees and Ryan explained:
“A little bit, not too much. The only reason I don’t too much is because in ADCC they now count that as a guard-pull so I try and stay away from developing that habit.”
That led Rodriguez to explain how the rule they were discussing came into effect:
“It’s crazy that they actually changed a rule because of me… For those of you that don’t know; during my first ADCC I was renowned for like, scoring points and causing a lot of off-balances from wrestling from my knees. Going to two knees or to one knee and attacking or re-attacking my opponents, and previously a guard-pull was only considered (to be) pulling to your butt in this fashion. But because of my knee-wrestling they were like ‘oh, that’s gotta be points’ so they kinda changed a rule because of me.”
Of course, it’s debatable whether that could be considered an exploit of the rules or just a good tactic for no gi grappling competition. Regardless, ADCC changed the rules around dropping to a knee in order to wrestle apparently because Nicky Rodriguez was able to do so well from there. He also explains the timeline of events and why he was so used to doing that at the time:
“I think the timeline was after I won trials and then I took second in my first ADCC in 2019, and then they changed the rules where if you pulled to a knee or if you’re like wrestling from a knee then it’s considered a guard-pull. Where previously that was just like the same as a neutral position. Because you know you see it in NCAA wrestling or freestyle wrestling, guys will go down to a knee for level-changes and just for wrestling in general.”
Nicky Ryan also gave his input on the situation and he was clear about his opinions on the rule-change:
“I’m not a fan of the rule-change. I don’t know, I feel like it should only be a guard-pull if you’re committing down to a hip. You know like Nicky Rod said, tons of wrestlers use that, they’ll drop down to a knee and wrestle from there. So I’m not the biggest fan of the rule-change, but it is what it is.
The full video where Nicky Rodriguez explained why ADCC changed the rules because of him was uploaded to the official YouTube channel of B-Team Jiu-Jitsu:
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