Event Recaps



We have officially closed out 2021 with a banger – High Rollerz 10 features a 16-man 160 lb. black belt bracket along with two championship main events! This card is completely stacked with many well-known mma fighters and high-level jiu jitsu competitors battling it out for the ultimate prize package: a gold medal, a golden bong, a $1000 gift card to our exclusive Las Vegas dispensary Jardín and the grand prize of $10,000 cash! This event is live streaming on YouTube and premiering afterward on Pluto TV – a free cable television network.

Fans can enjoy UFC legend and BJJ black belt Yves Edwards breaking down the action alongside our house commentator, the very fun and funny Renato Laranja. We are thrilled to have pro-wrestling super star and cannabis proponent Rob Van Dam in the building enjoying the show while also supporting the event with an athlete representing his brand RVD CBD!

1: Kieran Kichuk vs Rafael Domingos

This action-packed event starts off with Kieran Kichuk representing Lloyd Irvin Martial Arts and fighting for Team Baum Life vs Rafael Domingos representing Ronanjitsu Martial Arts and fighting for Team Originals San Diego. Kieran immediately starts the match from the bottom and as soon as Rafael tries to pass Kieran gets Rafael in a fully locked arm bar. These competitors have the crowd at the edge of their seats and right as we thought Rafael was done he manages to pull an amazing escape. Both athletes stay very technical and the match ends with Kieran winning by referee’s decision after 3 even rounds of overtime.

2: Javier Garcia vs Jay Enoch

Match 2 sees Javier Garcia representing Combat Submission Wrestling and fighting for Team Dr. Dabber vs Jay Enoch representing Gracie Brandon + Fusion Xcel and fighting for Team Khalifa Kush. Jay starts the match by attacking Javier’s legs but Javier stays constantly defending the attacks and putting the pressure back on Jay. Jay looks extremely comfortable on his back and most of this match ends up a scramble but eventually Javier manages to take Jay’s back and finishes with a rear naked choke.

3: Noad Lahat vs Charles Rosa

Match 3 sees UFC fighter Noad Lahat representing Victory MMA and fighting for Team Cali Kosher vs UFC fighter Charles Rosa representing American Combat Gym and fighting for Team Rock Nutrients. Noad unfortunately has withdrawn due to injury. As a result Charles automatically advances to the next round.

4: Gabriel Gaudio vs Cris Lencioni

Match 4 sees Gabriel Gaudio representing GF Orange Team and fighting for Team RVD CBD vs Cris ‘Sunshine’ Lencioni representing Sunshine Athletics and fighting for team Disco Dabs. The match begins with Gabriel starting on the bottom – it looks like he was trying to set up a sweep but Cris has him smashed against the cage who is definitely using the cage to his advantage while on top. Gabriel has no choice but to pull guard. Gabriel does a really good job not letting Cris pass, which frustrates Cris. They get back to their feet and Gabriel goes for the half guard position from bottom but Cris manages to isolate Gabriel’s arm and get him in a kimura lock. Cris manages to advance to full mount position while having Gabriel fully locked in the submission with no way of escape. Just when we were expecting a tap, in a weird turn of events Cris is bitten in the ribs by Gabriel who responds negatively to the pressure being put on him. Gabriel is disqualified and Cris wins the match and advances to the next round.

5: Bill Cooper vs William Wolk

Match 5 sees jiu jitsu legend Bill ‘The Grill’ Cooper representing Paragon BJJ and fighting for Team Jardín Dispensary vs William Wolk representing Martinez BJJ and fighting for Team Green Life Productions. Most of this match takes place on the feet. Both athletes tie up with each other looking for the takedown and other openings. Bill attempts a kimura and comes close but William keeps the pressure on Bill and is able to escape the submission attempt and pass him. William eventually takes Bill’s back, get both hooks in, flattens him out and finishes with a rear naked choke.

6: Raymond Cardenas vs Jordan Wirth

Match 6 sees Raymond Cardenas representing Active Jiu Jitsu and fighting for Team Cookies vs Jordan Wirth representing 10th Planet Las Vegas and fighting for Team Jars. Jordan walks into this match with the crowd definitely on his side – he is a frequent High Rollerz competitor and a local. Both athletes waste no time once the match starts. Raymond starts off by putting the pressure on Jordan and begins to attack but eventually falls into Jordan’s rubber guard. Jordan transitions to a triangle position then almost immediately transitions to a omoplata. Raymond has no choice but to forward roll into a scramble and is able to get back to his feet. Raymond attempts a jumping triangle which lands him back in Jordan’s rubber guard. Jordan begins to repeat the same exact transitions from rubber guard to triangle to omoplata. Raymond rolls forward for a second time but this time around Jordan was expecting the roll and catches his legs then moves to secure the finish with an inside heel hook.

7: Georgi Karakhanyan vs Albert Morales

Match 7 sees Bellator fighter and High Rollerz 1 competitor Georgi Karakhanyan representing OG Training Center and fighting for Team Minds Eye Psi vs UFC veteran Albert Morales representing Carlson Gracie and fighting for Team Vibes Rolling Papers. Both athletes being experienced MMA fighters makes this match exciting and interesting. The match begins with both athletes getting to work, both cautiously working to not give up position but also going for the sub when possible. After 6 minutes of back and forth competition the match moves to overtime. After the first two overtime rounds are not decisive the match moves to a third and final sudden death round. Georgi manages to land a nice double leg takedown on Albert that immediately wins him the match and advances him to the next round.

8: Keith Krikorian vs Dane Leak

Match 8 sees Keith Krikorian representing 10th Planet San Diego and fighting for Team Originals San Diego vs Dane Leak representing Clinch Martial Arts and fighting for Team Good Things Coming. These two athletes really come out here to make a statement and are both very technical and exciting to watch. Dane manages to sweep Keith twice but Keith immediately responds by attacking Dane’s legs while he falls. Keith is not able to finish any leg submissions on Dane because of solid leg defense and the match goes to overtime where Keith is able to to seal the deal with a rear naked choke and advance to the next round.

9: Kieran Kichuk vs Javier Garcia

Match 9 sees Kieran Kichuk representing Lloyd Irvin Martial Arts and fighting for Team Baum Life vs Javier Garcia representing Combat Submission Wrestling and fighting for Team Dr. Dabber. This match starts and ends quickly with Kieran catching Javier in a tricky triangle, locking it in for the tap and winning by submission.

10: Charles Rosa vs Cris Lencioni

Match 10 sees Charles Rosa representing American Combat Gym and fighting for Team Rock Nutrients vs Cris ‘Sunshine’ Lencioni representing Sunshine Athletics and fighting for Team Disco Dabs. Both athletes go about this match very patiently and technically with Charles spending most of it in Cris’s guard. When the match advances to the 3rd and final sudden death overtime round  Cris starts the round by motioning to give Charles a handshake but then immediately goes for the takedown which wins him the match. Some people thought the handshake to takedown was a dirty move, but it was completely legal, and Cris wins and advances to the next round.

11: William Wolk vs Jordan Wirth

Match 11 sees William Wolk representing Martinez BJJ and fighting for Team Green Life Productions vs Jordan Wirth representing 10th Planet Las Vegas and fighting for Team Jars. Jordan starts this match from the bottom with William on top trying to pass. William is able to get Jordan in a head and shoulder position and remains there, putting pressure on him. Once free Jordan is able to secure a tight buggy choke but William remains calm and escapes with the remainder of the match playing out on the feet. Jordan secures a rear naked choke in the second overtime round, winning him the match.

12: Georgi Karakhanyan vs Keith Krikorian

Match 12 sees Georgi Karakhanyan representing OG Training Center and fighting for Team Mind’s Eye Psi vs Keith Krikorian representing 10th Planet San Diego and fighting for Team Originals San Diego. Keith begins the match from the bottom, slowly working to bring Georgi to the ground. Once he succeeds Keith is able to take Georgi’s back and slip in a rear naked choke that wins him this match.

13: SEMIFINAL – Kieran Kichuk vs Cris Lencioni

Match 13 is our first semifinal match and sees Kieran Kichuk representing Lloyd Irvin Martial Arts and fighting for Team Baum Life vs Cris ‘Sunshine’ Lencioni representing Sunshine Athletics and fighting for Team Disco Dabs. Kieran immediately starts this match by attacking Cris’ legs. Cris tries to spin out and away from the attack but Kieran secures a deep inside heel hook that forces Cris to tap. Kieran wins by submission and advances to the next round.

14: SEMIFINAL – Jordan Wirth vs Keith Krikorian

Match 14 is our second semifinal match and sees Jordan Wirth representing 10th Planet Las Vegas and fighting for Team Jars vs Keith Krikorian representing 10th Planet San Diego and fighting for Team Originals San Diego. This match starts with a scramble that lands both competitors in a 50/50 leg position. Both competitors attack but Keith manages to get to Jordan’s heel first and wins the match by heel hook submission.

15: FINAL – Kieran Kichuk vs Keith Krikorian

Match 15 is the final match of the tournament and sees Kieran Kichuk representing Lloyd Irvin Martial Arts and fighting for Team Baum Life vs Keith Krikorian representing 10th Planet San Diego and fighting for Team Originals San Diego. Both athletes start very aggressively and put some crazy leg entanglements on display. You can tell they are both very familiar with leg attacks but Keith manages to slip in an inside heel hook to finish Kieran and wins the match and the tournament!


FINAL: Keith Krikorian on Team Originals San Diego takes 1st place winning $10,000 cash, a $1000 gift card to Jardin Dispensary, a golden bong and a gold medal. Kieran Kichuk on Team Baum Life takes 2nd place and receives a silver medal along with an ounce of top-shelf flower from Originals San Diego. Jordan Wirth bows out from bronze match due to injury and his planned opponent Cris Lencioni takes 3rd place as a result, winning a bronze medal and a half ounce of top-shelf flower from Originals San Diego.

Co-Main Event – Absolute Brown Belt Championship
16: Elijah Carlton (C) vs Brady Wicklund

Our Co-Main Event sees standing brown belt champion Elijah Carlton representing 10th Planet Atlanta and fighting for Team Jardín Dispensary vs Brady Wicklund representing Dave Terrel Jiu Jitsu and fighting for Team Game Up Nutrition in an oringinally planned untimed match. This match mainly sees Brady working to bring the fight to the feet while Elijah attempts to bring Brady to the ground. Both athletes are being extremely careful throughout and due to them being too careful a decision is made 25 minutes in to end the match at 30 minutes. This match goes to overtime after the 30 minutes expire and Elijah eventually secures the win and defends his belt against Brady with a triangle choke.

Main Event – Absolute Black Belt Championship
17: Kevin Crane (C) vs Brennan Ward

Our Main Event sees our standing 2x absolute black belt champion ‘Remember The Name’ Kevin Crane representing Morumbi Academy and fighting for Team Game Up Nutrition vs Bellator brawler and all-American wrestler Brennan Ward representing Whaling City Wrestle Jitsu and fighting for Team Tyson 2.0. Both of these athletes are very entertaining and exciting. Kevin and Brennan first collide when Brennan attacks with a fast super duck that ends up wit him in Kevin’s guard. A few fun scrambles take place before Kevin gets Brennan in his rubber guard and from there transitions to an omoplata. Brennan responds by rolling forward out of desperation which leads to a scramble but Kevin quickly reacts and is able to secure a guillotine and defend his belt for the 3rd time!

High Rollerz always aims to provide the most entertaining and competitive shows possible. We will be kicking off 2022 with High Rollerz 11: Big vs Mighty. This event is meant to display the art of jiu jitsu at its finest and illustrate how skill and technique is more important than height and weight.





Grab a High Rollerz $10K tee before they are gone forever!


Director: ‘Mighty Matt’ Staudt
Producer: ‘Icey Mike’ Imber
Co-Producer: Jessica ‘Evil’ Eye
Host: ‘Big Lonn’ Howard
Commentators: Renato Laranja & Yves Edwards
Special Guest: Jake Shields
Referee: Darren Branch
Head of Production: Edwardo Vasquez
Lighting: Philip Franzone & Dylan Frank
Sound: Sal Rotolo
DJ: DJ Freeze
Photography: Paul Adams
Event recap made by: Greg Nelson
Art: Jud Lively, Michael Carroll, Kevin Edwards
Crew: Jair Romero & Joaquin Rivera
Security: Elite Security Specialists, LLC

Produced & owned by BAM Productions



Due to the very strict, complicated and confusing rules placed around holding events that allow cannabis consumption and the overwhelming demand to participate in one of our smoking shows we decided to launch regional, non-smoking OPENs to find the very best for a series of super brackets that will take place in December at a completely private show!

High Rollers 3 will have not have tickets for sale.. There will be no way for any competitors to register. These super brackets will consist of past champions, the winners from our OPENs, the top 3 submission leaders over 2019 per belt and a few surprise special invitations.

Want to win a POUND and a Super Champ Belt?! That’s exactly what the winners will be receiving at High Rollerz 3! You can qualify for one of our Super Brackets in a few different ways…

  1. Be a past High Rollerz Champion
  2. Place 1st or 2nd in one of our OPENs
  3. Place 1st or 2nd for most subs in your division over 2019
  4. Generally standout as a competitor over the year and receive a special invite

Don’t wait to register for your spot! All events are now live and open for registration using the SmoothComp tournament platform. You are can register and reserve your spot right away without paying but please keep in mind that prices will fluctuate and increase over time!


Simply put, our sponsors are and have been the reason we are here! Please take note & show support for these awesome brands!



High Rollerz : Cannabis and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

For many of the biggest names in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, cannabis plays an important role in their cognitive and physical recovery process.

Amateur and professional practitioners alike find benefits in cannabis that can help their jiu-jitsu creativity, longevity and decompression from hard rolls. As those who “roll” know, cannabis acts as an adviser to the king, staying behind thick red curtains, playing a key role in every conquest and campaign. Fortunately, cannabis in recent years has made its way into the spotlight with influencers and BJJ events that incorporate cannabis as a participatory requirement and prize. The names Joe Rogan and Eddie Bravo has been at the forefront of this movement.


The only major event that brings cannabis and Brazilian jiu-jitsu together is High Rollerz BJJ, which is a submission-only competition. High Rollerz is the brain child of ‘Big Lonn’ Howard & ‘Mighty Matt’ Staudt. Each participant is required to smoke a joint with their opponent before each match can begin. The prizes come in pounds of cannabis with one pound going to each division winner. As of now there are no other tournaments that tie cannabis and jiu-jitsu so tightly together, but I am sure there are tournaments that will develop in the near future.

In my opinion the sport of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has become the spearhead of all sports to welcome cannabis for its athletes. In the professional mixed martial arts scene, there are more and more fighters who are coming out to support lifting its ban and those who remain in the dark waiting for others to push it through. The health benefits it can offer these professional combatants can’t be overlooked for much longer as many athletes are refusing prescription painkillers in favor of self-medicating with the cheaper and less harmful flowers of cannabis.

Athletes in other sports leagues such as the NFL and NBA are also pushing for there league and association to lift the ban on cannabis. There has been a forthcoming of athletes who have openly talked about the negatives of painkillers being easily available to them and causing detrimental long-term effects during and after their playing careers. Some athletes have gone to the extent of retiring very early because cannabis is not allowed in their league and refuse to take any prescription painkillers as a substitute to cannabis. This is an interesting time for sports and cannabis, and I am watching closely to how this plays out.

The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu community will continue to make progress towards the open integration of cannabis and will birth more cannabis-friendly tournaments in the future. More practitioners will see cannabis as an aid rather than a hinderance. There will be less training sessions missed due to injuries in gyms all across the nation. Hopefully training partners will freely spark up together before and/or after training.


It would be easy to say that the lifestyle jiu-jitsu comes with would be the greatest influence for cannabis consumption in the sport, but that’s just not true. There have been important hands that have guided the way for cannabis to be acceptable in the spotlight of jiu-jitsu and not confined to the safety of your home or the ill-lit spot in the parking lot of the gym. These influences came from individuals with a huge platform, credibility in the sport of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, personality and the opening of legal doorways.

The influencers that made the biggest and most direct links of cannabis to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in my opinion are Joe Rogan, Eddie Bravo and the Diaz Brothers. Each of these individuals have not been shy in the face of regulations and the public when it comes to the use of cannabis in mixed martial arts for the sake of its physical and mental health benefits.

Their personalities combined with their love for cannabis has helped solidify the link between cannabis and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the minds of practitioners and non-practitioners all over the world. These individuals are the reason why I have made this connection and am currently writing the article you are reading.


As an amateur practitioner myself, I know the wear and tear that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can accumulate on your body. A lot of these start to manifest over the course of days to weeks before they start to hinder your training and daily life. Before anyone says “what does this white belt know anyway?”, I would like to explain that I have several years of mixed martial arts experience through Wrestling, Muay Thai and Judo (So I have had my fair share of injuries).

Although the term amateur encompasses everyone who is not a professional, I assure you that there are competitive amateurs out there who train almost as hard or just as hard as professionals. These individuals are either trying to become professionals or are just hardcore like that. Even those who aren’t training as hard as these outliers will experience some wear and tear such as stiff neck, bruises, rolled ankles, tender joints and back pain. Cannabis comes in very handy for these ailments and for the purpose of unwinding after smashing or getting smashed by your training partner.


Professional practitioners of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu experience more wear and tear on the muscles, joints and mind state than amateurs. The reasons being that most of these competitors train 6-7 days to stay at the top of their game and the constant evolution of the sport. Every year there are moments where names skyrocket into the spotlight and when names fall from the heavens, these are the moments that these competitors work so hard to achieve and to avoid.

When professionals roll hard, they have to push their joints and limbs to a more dangerous extent to prepare themselves for real situations in competitions when they are caught in a submission and can gauge if trying to escape is worth it or if tapping out is the only escape. However, there are competitors who are willing to let their arms break, or get choked out before tapping.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brings people from all walks of life together. Meatheads build bonds with nerds, vegans with carnivores and shy individuals with the obnoxious. It teaches you that a thin, gray-haired man can have iron vises for hands and possibly cut your lights out if the situation calls for it. These kinds of lessons develop a sense of respect and humility for everyone you meet in and out of the gym. You learn that forces outside of your own will usually decide your position in life, but you can learn how to correctly react and survive in those positions.

Along with the lessons you learn in the gym, there will be the wear and tear that any physical activity when taken seriously, can result in. The conquered and conquerer will both have to pay the price for hard training sessions. In times of recovery, cannabis can play an important role towards for individuals who are able to partake without consequence in other areas of their lives.



VICE produced an episode around the first High Rollerz BJJ. Check it out:



For years, Brazilian jiu-jitsu has harbored a subculture of marijuana use, being a staple regimen for various grapplers much to the chagrin of traditionalists. While many practitioners have admitted to toking up before and/or after a training session, it has never been a compulsory part of a grappling competition, at least until High Rollerz came along.

On a Sunday afternoon in South Central Los Angeles, an unmistakable musk reverberates in the parking lot of a local community center. Hordes of cars surround the otherwise seemingly nondescript neighborhood. With rap music blaring, smoke filling the airways, and arena lighting, the small gymnasium transformed into a jiu-jitsu counterculture haven, drawing competitors and spectators from well beyond state lines.

On the microphone emceeing all night is the venerable Renato Laranja, who needn’t any introduction amongst Brazilian jiu-jitsu pundits. Even the most serious of competitors could not help but crack a smile at the flair with which he introduced their names. Laranja strolled the stage continuously doing Instagram updates during matches, candidly engaging with fans as they approached him throughout the night. A warm-up mat on the side was packed with athletes discussing strategies with their coaches. Matches were separated by occasional intermissions referred to as ‘smoke breaks,’ merchandise stands lined the walls, and açaí flowed from the snack bar. Cannabis water was available to keep athletes hydrated.

The action of the matches was similar in nature to a submission-oriented style. No points were given for position, encouraging constant engagement. Nary a match took place where opponents lasted more than a few seconds on their feet without taking meaningful initiative. On more than one occasion, it was reiterated to the audience that ‘rest assured,’ the competitors were required to toke up before and after the matches. This much did not go overlooked. There was a women’s division and men’s division with brackets separated by skill level. Competitors received a care package consisting of cannabis goods, many of them CBD products aimed at aiding in recovery. If you are a cannabis-related company, this surely is an event that you’d want to be involved with in some capacity.

Brands aligning themselves with the BJJ/MMA industry are releasing cannabis-based products in an effort to capitalize on the evolving legal landscape. On January 1 of this year, recreational marijuana became legal in the state of California. Given the sworn testimonies on the benefits of cannabis aiding in recovery from figures such as Joe Rogan, TJ Dillashaw, the Diaz brothers, among many others, there appears to be a shifting trend in how combat athletes are approaching their recovery. Gone are the days where pain pills are the ideal way to deal with the nagging pain that comes along with constant training. If this High Rollerz event is any indication, we will continue to see a shifting trend in how fighters and enthusiasts approach their post-training routine.

Certainly, an event like this is bound to draw critics. For anyone not in attendance, know that camaraderie amongst complete strangers was unlike anything I have ever witnessed at a jiu-jitsu tournament. Students and instructors from many different teams gathered in a small gymnasium bonded together by their love of jiu-jitsu and their connection to the cannabis plant. The event is part jiu-jitsu tournament, part cannabis expo, part DJ party, all positive energy

As a counter-culture within the niche of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, given the success of the event and emerging evidence as to the safety and efficacy of cannabis-based products in comparison to conventional pain management options, we may rapidly be noticing a shifting trend in the image of cannabis amongst the jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts industry at large. The groundwork has already been laid, events like this will continue to perpetuate the changing public perception to a plant that many amateur and professional fighters swear by.



Inside a Compton gym, clouds of smoke hang in the air as fighters warm up for a jiu jitsu tournament. Besides rolling, practicing submissions, stretching, and chatting with their coaches, the competitors are also using marijuana.

For many of people, doing anything besides melting into the couch with a bag of chips after smoking pot seems like a tall order. The fighters of High Rollerz BJJ have stronger constitutions—and a higher tolerance for being high.

The main rule at High Rollerz is simple: every fighter has to use marijuana before their match. Operating on an honors system, there aren’t any rules that dictate how high they need to be, just that they must smoke out before their respective bouts. The winners of each bracket get the championship title for their division and a pound of weed. Created by Matt Staudt (of PR firm the Staudt Agency) and Lonn Howard, High Rollerz aims to break down antiquated cannabis stereotypes and introduce high-level jiu jitsu to people who otherwise might not know much about it.

Howard, a jiu jitsu practitioner himself, found that smoking cannabis before a BJJ training session or competition quelled his anxiety and helped him focus. The highly strategic martial arts discipline, which Staudt refers to as “human chess,” requires an extraordinary amount of technique and skill. Many top-level fighters, including black belts Nick and Nate Diaz (UFC), are strong proponents of the benefits of cannabis and CBD, especially for athletes. “Lonn [Howard] came up with the idea and the name, and when he approached me with the idea, I loved it. It totally made sense,” said Staudt.

Staudt, whose PR firm works with cannabis brands and MMA fighters, found sponsors for the event, and in June of this year, just a couple months after its conception, the first ever High Rollerz BJJ tournament took place. What started out as the little tournament that could turned out to be a success. “We had an incredible response, way beyond and better than what we ever imagined,” said Staudt. The tournament generated such a huge buzz that they made plans for future High Rollerz BJJ tournaments, the second of which was held on Sunday, September 9. “It took two months to fill all the [competitor] spots for the first one. When we announced the second one, the spots filled out in ten hours,” Staudt says.

A total of 66 athletes from all over the country competed at High Rollerz BJJ Round 2, and with the addition of two female brackets, there were 16 women competing. Michelle Lopez, winner of women’s expert division, said, “I love weed and I love jiu jitsu!”

Stephen Eakin trains out of San Diego and made it to the semi-finals of his division. “I wanted to compete in this tournament because I thought it would do several things for me,” Eakin says. For one thing, he wanted it to be an opportunity to let people in his Georgia hometown know that he uses cannabis. “This would be a surprise to most,” he says. “You have to keep it secret or the police would definitely come after you. It’s a small town.”

Jada Alicea trains in Orlando, Florida. “What drew me in was the exposure but mainly that it was a cannabis-infused tournament,” she says. “That sold me right away. That’s my thing. I’m that girl—the stoner chick that’s high at the gym. I’m a mom, and that shit’s stressful! So I’m always trying to relax. My escape is smoking and rolling. That’s my happy place.”

This was only the third big competition for Gina Megui, who matched up with a new opponent with short notice after her original competitor canceled. “I chose to compete in High Rollerz because the atmosphere seems really chill and fun,” she says. “And also my sponsor Step 1, a cannabis brand out of L.A., gave me the opportunity. I’m just trying to put myself out there and challenge myself.”

Albert Morales is a UFC fighter and trains out of Torrance. He says he believes marijuana has the power to help competitors like himself, on and off the mat. “I feel like marijuana can help in many aspects of life, especially in training. It allows you to slow down and analyze situations in multiple scenarios. And pretty much, this event is filled with great competitors and dope vibes.”



Whenever I mentioned I was having a hard time getting Matt Staudt to commit to a phone interview about his cannabis-infused jiu jitsu tournament, people laughed in my face. I tried to book a specific time slot, but Staudt said his life just doesn’t work that way. Many thought I was a fool for ever thinking I’d be able to arrange something with a stoner. “Well, what did you expect?,” they’d say.

The prevalence of this pothead stereotype is precisely the point of High Rollerz. The tournament is a niche within a niche, celebrating all things cannabis on a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) stage. Lonn “Big Lonn” Howard and Matt “Mighty Matt” Staudt, the tournament’s co-founders, are both equal parts passionate martial artists and cannabis activists. For them, High Rollerz is a way to destigmatize marijuana use and dismiss that stoner reputation by showcasing world-class champion athletes competing at the highest level while…getting very, very high.

High Rollerz was Howard’s idea. He loves cannabis, he’s not shy about it and he doesn’t think anyone should be. The initial idea for the tournament came to him while he was stoned: “We’re in training one day, I had smoked a crazy amount, and I went in there and had the best open mat ever,” Howard tells Playboy. “I was like, ‘Matt, I want to hold a tournament where you smoke weed, but the grand prize is you win a pound of weed.’”

Howard didn’t realize it at the time, but Staudt was perfectly positioned as the powerhouse to bring that dream to life. He had started his own marketing and advertising agency in 2013, specifically supporting cannabis companies in navigating the extremely messy laws and regulations around cannabis-related advertising. When Staudt started working with mixed martial artists (and fight world cannabis activists) Nick and Nate Diaz in 2016, his business expanded to include martial arts clients and before he knew it, the two worlds had collided for him in a big way. He started training jiu jitsu in Las Vegas in 2017, and says he trains as often as he can.

“I’ve found cannabis to be a performance enhancing drug.

It’s such a positive tool when used and understood correctly.”

“We set the date for our first event for two and a half months out,” Staudt says. “That’s a really big undertaking.” Even though their contracted venue backed out 48 hours before High Rollerz 1 was set to begin, the event was a huge success by all accounts. About 650 people attended to see 66 competitors from across the country and around the world, spread across intermediate and advanced divisions in a submission-only gi (also known as uniform) tournament. The grand prize, as promised (but not advertised), was a pound of flower valued between $3,000 and $5,000. Win or lose, every competitor left with $500 worth of swag from High Rollerz sponsors like Original Grappler, Papa & Barkley, Breal.TV, and Canavape.

While High Rollerz success came quick, the road to Staudt and Howard’s love of the leafy green drug was a long time coming. Staudt and Howard each overcame their own histories with alcohol and harder drugs before finding their way to cannabis. Staudt says he fell into drinking and other hard drugs when he was put on probation: “Life got really shitty for a while.” After getting totally sober and joining Alcoholics Anonymous in an attempt to get his life back on track, Staudt felt inexplicably drawn to cannabis. His business was already servicing cannabis clients at this point, and new streams of positive information about the benefits of cannabis may have had something to do with the sudden appeal. But first, he had to get over the guilt.

Staudt says he resents the negative preconceptions that had been drilled into him as a young person growing up in the United States. “That’s what makes me so indignant now,” Staudt says. “I don’t take any pharmaceuticals, I don’t drink alcohol, I eat really healthy. I’m a clear-headed, functional, healthy person.” And none of that is separate from his lifestyle as an avid marijuana smoker and prominent activist. “I’ve found cannabis to be a performance enhancing drug. It’s such a positive tool when used and understood correctly.”

The first time Howard smoked, he ate a family size bag of Funyuns and laid down on the floor in the middle of the his employer’s recording studio (Fun Fact: Howard is Wiz Khalifa’s personal bodyguard). But after he built up a tolerance and learned how cannabis affected him, he says smoking cannabis changed his life. He started smoking cannabis three years ago at age 29, and that only came after resolving to turn away from alcohol. “I used to drink like hell,” he says. “It wasn’t working out for me.” Cannabis helped Howard focus on working out, getting in shape and staying healthy. “Smoking weed was actually the best thing I’ve done to this day,” he says.

It’s an open secret that many professional athletes use cannabis as part of a holistic training regimen, and the combat sports community has seen its fair share of cannabis controversies in recent years. But faced with hefty fines and penalties, bout cancellations and career-ending suspension rulings, some of the fight world’s most successful players have pushed back in a big way against inflexible drug regulations. The Diaz brothers have become poster boys in the fight, leading a long list of fighter/smokers including Joe Rogan, Joe Schilling, Kron Gracie and Eddie Bravo.

At High Rollerz 1 this past June, competitors smoked marijuana openly before their matches, sharing joints with their opponents while stretching out on the warm-up mats. The fact that it’s a submission-only tournament increases both the thrill and the risk in every match when compared to a match played for points. Like many fight sports, the goal of BJJ is to do more damage to your opponent than he does to you (and get out in one piece). But damage in a submission-only BJJ match means moves that result in broken limbs, dislocated joints, cutting off blood flow and suffocating air supply. It’s dangerous, and, by definition, deadly. You keep going until your opponent taps out.

There’s an incredible amount of trust required for two fighters to intentionally decrease their inhibitions and then go at it in a full-contact sport. On top of the risks unique to BJJ, professional fighters put their bodies through the ringer as a function of the job. When they’re not breaking down their bodies in training, they’re getting broken in the ring, on the mat or in the octagon. Injuries are par for the course, and a few months later, they’re right back at it in another match. “I don’t know any other sport that requires so much of a person,” Staudt suggests.

With popularity booming around CBD as a panacea for every ache and pain under the sun, and the availability of hemp-derived CBD products that are legal even where recreational cannabis is not, the drug is already making a big difference for athletes competing in high-risk and injury-prone sports. Fighters use cannabis in its various forms (from smoking and edibles to creams, salves, and gels) as a post-training medicine for its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.

“I look like a nervous Frankenstein if I do jiu jitsu without smoking.

I’m stiff and overthinking.

So I started smoking, and every time I smoked I won silver or gold.”

But many fighters are also speaking up about the ways they use cannabis before training, as long as they’re outside the term of competition governed by league rules against drug use. Howard says his crew always smokes a few joints in the parking lot before rolling up to a Muay Thai or BJJ session, for example. And that doesn’t mean they’re any less accomplished as fighters. Howard achieved the rank of blue belt in a wildly short seven months, and the first tournament he ever competed in as a white belt was the prestigious World Jiu Jitsu Championship. He won silver. “I cannot do any type of jiu jitsu without smoking a joint,” Howard says. “I look like a nervous Frankenstein if I do jiu jitsu without smoking. I’m stiff and overthinking. So I started smoking, and every time I smoked I won silver or gold. I was like ‘oh, this is what I need to do.’ My instructor [Warren Stout] was like ‘hey man, I don’t think you should compete without smoking again.’”

In Howard’s non-medical opinion, getting high before training BJJ decreases stress and anxiety, increases focus and awareness, and boosts creativity and memory recall. He credits marijuana for the safety that comes from willingness to tap out or give up a submission, instead of fighting past the point of comfort and putting one’s body at risk because of a big ego. Howard also says he can remember his go-to moves better when he smokes, probably in large part because his anxiety is quelled enough to allow his mind to slow down and sink into a groove.

Even though the international medical community is slowly coming around, there are still purists in the jiu jitsu community who don’t see the High Rollerz mission as a good move for fight sports. The High Rollerz 1 superfight—a featured match in which two professional fighters compete as a main event showcase—was between Jeff Glover and Georgi Karakhanyan with Eddie Bravo as a guest referee. They’re all widely recognized players in the fight world and also cannabis activists in their own right, but despite all the prestige, word travelled fast that black belts were smoking at a jiu jitsu tournament. Those who disagree with High Rollerz believe that smoking at a BJJ event is disrespectful to the mat, to the gi and to the art as a whole. “I was getting a lot of messages from people, mostly Brazilians, sending me messages calling me a bad role model and a scumbag, a pothead, a druggie,” Glover says. Staudt says that higher ups in the world of BJJ were threatening to take away Glover’s and Karakhanyan’s black belts, but no real consequences ever materialized.

The negative feedback was tough to swallow for Glover, who has been a black belt for over 10 years and is a champion many times over. He calls himself “The Stoner King”, and believes that jiu jitsu and cannabis fit together well: “I smoke before and after every jiu jitsu session. It’s just something I’ve always done. But I’m not going to say that it’s my secret to success, or on the other hand, that it’s inhibited my success.” For Glover, jiu jitsu and cannabis are two distinct passions that overlap often and well. “For every hate message I was getting, I got ten messages from people thanking me for leading the cause and taking away the stigma around marijuana,” Glover says. “I don’t think smoking marijuana makes you a bad person.” The High Rollerz superfight was Glover’s last fight before retiring from competition.

Howard and Staudt are adamant that disrespect was never their intention. They love the sport and want to create something positive for their communities. High Rollerz 2 will take place in Los Angeles this September, and it’s expected to be a very different game if only because it’s a no gi event. “All those little leg lockers, Imanari rollers, those 10th Planet guys, they’re licking their lips. I’m excited to see how the jiu jitsu’s going to play out,” Howard says. They’re also adding a women’s division to High Rollerz 2.







Original article by Raphael Garcia Jun 13, 2018, 8:00pm EDT


Jeff Glover starred across multiple grappling promotions.


Competitive grappling is still a niche sport but it still has its wealth of prominent names that draw respect from everyone. Jeff Glover is one of those individuals and when he announced his retirement this week the industry showered him with praises. For those that are familiar with his performances, Glover is going to be remembered for bringing an unorthodox and enjoyable style to the mats.


Glover took to Instagram to announce his retirement after picking up a victory at the High Rollerz event on Sunday.


“Going out with a big win,” Glover posted. “This will definitely be my last match of my career. I’m 35 and I have been doing Jiu Jitsu events since I was 16. I’m crying as I write this, but these are tears of joy.”


The Ricardo Miller black belt has had a long run in competitive grappling across many of the most important tournaments and promotions that the sport has to offer. His accolades include gold medals in the Pan American Championships, No-Gi Championships and a bronze medal at the 2011 ADCC Tournament.


During that time he competed for organizations such as Submission Underground, Fight to Win Pro, FIVE Super League, the Eddie Bravo Invitational, and more. His surprise match against Barret Yoshida at Metamoris 4 stands out as a great example of his light-hearted nature as he jumped up from the commentary booth to put his skills on display. His resume includes wins over the likes of Caio Terra, Wilson Reis, and a plethora of others.


Glover’s style brought forth the development of the deep half and the leg lock game that is prevalent in the industry today. The Donkey Guard is another innovation that Glover helped push to the forefront and is a highlight of his grappling style that was equally playful and dangerous at the same time. Many big names from within the sport took to his Instagram post to let them know how well he was appreciated.


“Thank you Jeff, for everything you have done for Jiu Jitsu and for all of us who tried to follow your example,” Ryan Hall posted. “You’re an inspiration and the grappling world is a better place for having you in it.”


“Champion,” posted Tom DeBlass.


“My man! I’ll always remember our journeys together,” Rafael Lovato Jr., posted. “Thanks for the laughs and beautiful Jiu-Jitsu!”


Jeff Glover will be remembered as one of the pioneers of competitive grappling and at the forefront of many of the changes that we see and enjoy today.



All fighters must smoke weed before competing in this MMA tournament. High Rollerz, a California-based Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu weed, held a submission only competition this past weekend with a sought-after prize: a whole pound of marijuana, worth between $3,000 and 4,000.

Some say that the majority of professional athletes, from jiu-jitsu competitors to football players, take marijuana in some form. Most use cannabis as an anti-inflammatory. CBD, when used as a topical, can soothe athletes’ aches and pains.

But in Jui-Jitsu, marijuana use goes beyond a medical topical: Fights often smoke weed to prepare for a fight. According to Joe Rogan, UFC commentator and marijuana user, “More UFC fighters smoke pot than don’t smoke pot.”

For some athletes, this means smoking weed to relax pre-fight nerves. Others, liked famed Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitor Eddie Bravo, uses it to fight more creatively.

Despite the relationship between martial arts, or sports in general, and weed, sports organizations continue to bar athletes who fail drug tests. Last year, UFC Strawweight Cynthia Calvillo received a 9-month ban for testing positive for THC. Before her, UFC fighter Nate Diaz received a whopping $165,000 fine and 5-year suspension.

On Sunday, High Rollerz held the lastest marijuana-infused Jiu-Jitsu tournament in Los Angeles. PR firm manager and weed connoisseur Matt Staudt, known as Mighty Matt, and Lonn Howard, Big Lonn, hosted the event. “I’d say half the tournament were pro fighters,” Mighty Matt told Green Rush Daily.

Eddie Bravo, the face of marijuana for Jui-Jitsu refereed. Nick Diaz, older brother to Nate Diaz, was present at the BJJ tournament, only a few weeks after the police arrested him for domestic violence.

In the last fight of his career, Jeff Glover beat Georgi Karakhanyan. “We agreed it would be in the spirit of things, to split the pound of weed 70/30,” Glover posted on Instagram before the fight. “We ended up giving a half pound and a custom rig to every person who won,” Matt added.

“The nature of the event was to destigmatize cannabis and provide the platform for athletics, jiu-jitsu specifically, and cannabis to merge,” said Mighty Matt. This meant that all the competitors smoked up before their matches.

At one point, two competitors were threatening to turn a match into a real fight. To calm everyone down, the referee passed around a joint, and the crowd went wild.

This is only the beginning for marijuana-infused Jiu-Jitsu. In a couple weeks, Staudt Agency, headed by CEO Matt Staudt, will host a no-gi jiu-jitsu tournament that will include female fighters. “It was a passion project,” said Mighty Matt, who sees cannabis-themed events as the future for changing the perception of athletes who use marijuana.