Exclusive Interview: FIVE Super League Promoter Shawn Fowler
Ahead of the upcoming FIVE Grappling Super League Light Heavyweight tournament on March 11th, 2017, we sat down with FIVE promoter, Shawn Fowler, to get his unfiltered thoughts on the event, the future of pro BJJ, and his predictions for the card. Tickets to the FIVE Super League are SOLD OUT! However, you can login to FloGrappling.com and access a live stream of the event starting at 1:30pm (PST) — With the main card beginning at 3:30pm (PST).
Questions in red, Shawn’s answers in italics.
Why did you create and put together the FIVE Super League?
I think Jiu Jitsu as a whole needed a platform to showcase its skillset. The California Pro Invitational kind of led us down a path where the athletes and coaches voiced their desires and we listened.
Is the 5SL an evolution of the tournaments you guys used to throw? Competitors really liked those, what happened to them?
The 5SL grew out of a desire to create something different, unique and amazing. The Five Open’s somewhat created the 5SL. The Five Opens are still around, we just took a hiatus for a while. Be on the lookout for a Five Open coming soon to Los Angeles later this year.
This is your second event in San Diego? Why host the events here?
I am a firm believer in grass roots growth and anyone that knows me personally knows that this is the way I have worked for the last 15 years in this sport. Besides that Southern California is home, not too mention the Mecca of BJJ. There isn’t a bigger talent pool anywhere in the world. Some of the best athletes from all over the world reside in Southern California. California is a hotbed for BJJ, and eventually every Jiu Jitsu Practitioner comes to California to train, compete, or even live.
What surprised you about the last FIVE Super League event and what feedback did you get from fans and media; both positive and negative?
The feedback from fans, media, coaches and athletes was absolutely amazing. The active participation and engagement from everyone in the BJJ community is an easy motivational tool for wanting to so much more.
Have you made any changes for this upcoming event?
Of course, we are constantly looking to evolve. Aesthetically we made some changes by moving it into a theater and also got rid of the elevated platform. We even added some features for video production, we feel are very important. So whether you are in live in the crowd or watching at home, we want to give the end user the best experience as possible.
What match-ups or potential match-ups do you think have the most potential for a “match-of-the-night”?
Wow, this card is stacked from top to bottom and honestly, any of them could end up as “match of the night”.
When targeting competitors for this event, what do you look for?
We do a lot of research on athletes; types of championships, style, belt level, geographical location, as well as if a visa is valid. So, as you can see, we do our due diligence when choose participating athletes.
What does the future hold for 5SL? What will we see next?
Our vision would be to host the most exciting matches that fans want to see and continue to bring an element to the main stage that people absolutely love to see. And lastly, to locate those athletes with the skills to be at the top of the game and get them the exposure they deserve to showcase their talents.
Next, we keep growing, evolving and stay tuned for our next show – July 15, San Diego, The Lightweights.
Final editors note:
When I asked Shawn if he could release any news about any upcoming special announcements all I got back was a bunch of fire emoji’s. I have a feeling that you won’t want to miss this event.