Elite no gi grappler Robert Degle has had a rollercoaster of a week after first being given the great news of being promoted to BJJ black belt, quickly followed by the devastating news of being banned from IBJJF competition for almost a year. He announced both the good and bad news on his official Instagram account in separate posts, with the first coming when he took a trip to Atlanta, Georgia to train with his coach Brandon Bennett, a well-respected black belt in his own right under Renzo Gracie and the head coach at Progressive Martial Arts:
He’s already a very talented competitor and regularly runs through expert divisions at both Grappling Industries and NAGA tournaments, including a recent match with UFC veteran Sean O’Malley. After receiving his promotion to black belt, Robert Degle was eager to let the IBJJF know in order to start competing in the division that holds the best talent available and will represent the biggest challenges for him, but got banned for his troubles instead.
As it turns out, he initially registered himself as a brown belt with the IBJJF back on May 23rd, 2020 and for some strange reason, the requirements for time spent at belt levels are actually calculated from the date that you register at that belt-level, instead of the date you were actually promoted. Because of this, the IBJJF weren’t willing to allow him to compete at black belt until that one year had passed and now that they know he’s been promoted, they won’t allow him to continue competing at brown belt either.
This isn’t the first time that the IBJJF has attracted criticism for it’s treatment of black belt athletes as a result of how their registration system works, with Enson Inoue not even being recognised as a black belt by the IBJJF.