Embrace the Grind Challenge

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A year ago, I met a gentleman named George O’Brien. Mr. O’Brien co-authored the book Wrestling to Rasslin’: Ancient Sport to American Spectacle and has been a long time member of the Cauliflower Alley Club. Mr. O’Brien has also helped countless young wrestlers, including two athletes on the PREMIER Roster today, Gabriel Gallo and Joe Graves. Mr. O’Brien was drawn to PREMIER because we presented pro wrestling the way he liked it, a company that truly focuses on the sport of professional wrestling. 


George and I over this past year have become good friends. We both shared our same passion for the sport of pro wrestling and we talked about our frustrations with the wrestling world today. One day, George mentioned to me about doing a European-style tournament. He had reached out about this idea to other promoters in the past, but the lack of knowledge of how to promote such a tournament was too much for these promoters to wrap their mind around. I personally loved the idea but also recognized that it may be a bit complex pull off. I told George that I would think it over and get back to him. 

Over the next few days, the more I thought about such a tournament, the more I loved it.  I told George my concerns about doing the tournament and a few things I would change to make the tournament easy to follow by the fans at ringside and at home. We planned on getting this tournament off the ground in early 2015, but there had been challenges to get the competitors we felt fit best for this tournament in the same building at the same time. Every time we had a date planned, one of the competitors was unable to compete that day. At times we both thought this event would never happen.  

Finally, on Saturday, November 28th in Gilroy, CA at the IFDES Lodge-Portuguese Hall all the stars are finally aligned to have such a special event. I e-mailed George about the excitement about this tournament, but days went by and no response. That concerned me because George always is quick to e-mail me back. I thought maybe he went to Europe on vacation as he had planned, so I waited a week or two and then e-mailed him again. Once again, no response and I was very concerned. I contacted Joe Graves and told him  I was concerned that I have not heard from George. Joe himself had no response from him either. Finally, Joe called to inform me that George suffered a major stroke. The doctors also discovered that he was suffering from lung cancer. My heart sank to the floor, I was devastated. Two months later, on Sunday September 27th, George O’Brien passed away. Everyone in the PREMIER family is devastated in losing such a great man.

On Saturday, November 28th at PREMIER XI, I am more determined than ever to make this event happen. I know George will be there spiritually and we will honor him that night with an event that will truly display the beauty of pro wrestling – An event that I am calling it the Embrace The Grind Challenge.


The Embrace The Grind Challenge will be a round robin tournament between three of Premier’s top grapplers today, Timothy Thatcher (4-2-1), “Mr. Athletic” Jeff Cobb (6-3-1), and Joe Graves (2-1-1). Unlike traditional one-fall matches, these matches will made up of rounds. The first part will consist of three five-minute rounds. The finals will consist of five five-minute rounds. There are three ways to win: by pin fall, by submission, or by Judges’ decision. 

If each competitor gains a win each, the round robin tournament will continue until one competitor suffers two losses thus creating a final match. Potentially there could be five matches total in the round robin tournament.
Why Thatcher, Cobb, and Graves?
Before the idea of this challenge was discussed, George and I would talk about our love for grappling. With many young wrestlers relying on high risk chances or trying to innovate the next great finishing move, the true basics of grappling more and more are lost in wrestling today. We both have a fond appreciation for the talents of young athletes like Timothy Thatcher, Jeff Cobb, and Joe Graves for their continued focus on the basic fundamentals of grappling. To honor my good friend, I decided Thatcher, Cobb, and Graves would be the first PREMIER Athletes to take the challenge. This will be a great test of grappling disciplines: Catch Wrestling (Thatcher), Freestyle Wrestling (Cobb), and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (Graves).  


A. All bouts in The Embrace The Grind Challenge will be scored by three judges who shall evaluate the contest. The referee may not be one of the three judges.

B. The 10-Point Must System will be the standard system of scoring a bout. Under the 10-Point Must Scoring System, 10 points must be awarded to the winner of the round. 9 points or less must be awarded to the loser. No even rounds will be given.

C. Judges shall evaluate pro wrestling techniques, such as effective grappling, effective striking, control of the ring area, effective aggressiveness, and defense.
The winner of the first ever Embrace The Grind Challenge will receive a PREMIER Championship opportunity at our next event at the IFDES Lodge-Portuguese Hall in Gilroy, CA. This is a grueling challenge and I felt a reward for winning such a challenge deserved a grand prize – a title shot at the PREMIER Championship.
Embrace The Grind Challenge will be a very special night of professional wrestling action to honor our good friend George O’Brien.  I hope you can come out and support these great athletes in this tough and grueling challenge.
John LaRocca
Premier President and Matchmaker

3 thoughts on “Embrace the Grind Challenge

  1. Pingback: Oliver John: Embrace The Grind Judge #2‏ | PREMIER

  2. Pingback: Danny Acosta: Embrace the Grind Judge #3 | PREMIER

  3. Pingback: Top Five - Tyson Fury Is The New Heavyweight Champion - Fight Game Blog

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