Ensuring Fair Play In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: The Role Of Anti-Doping And VAR | BJJ Mat Warriors
anti doping measures in ibjjf

Ensuring Fair Play in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: The Role of Anti-Doping and VAR

As the sun set over Long Beach, California, the iconic Walter Pyramid buzzed with excitement and anticipation. Athletes from around the globe gathered for the 2023 IBJJF World Jiu-Jitsu Championship, each competitor embodying a unique story of dedication and passion. Amidst the flurry of preparation and competition, a significant shift was taking place in the sport—one that promised to uphold the principles of fair play and integrity: the introduction of stringent anti-doping measures and advanced technology like the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system.

The Impact of Anti-Doping Measures

The International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) has taken a definitive stance against doping by partnering with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). This partnership ensures that all doping controls are managed independently, thereby maintaining the highest standards of fairness and transparency. The anti-doping program aims to promote a drug-free sport, preserve the ethics of competition, and safeguard the physical and mental health of athletes​ (IBJJF)​​ (Wikipedia)​.

The introduction of these measures affects a wide range of stakeholders in the BJJ community:

  1. Athletes: Competitors now face more rigorous testing and stricter penalties for violations. This move is particularly significant for black belt competitors, who often set the benchmark for performance in the sport. Athletes caught using prohibited substances face provisional suspensions and potentially severe repercussions, affecting their careers and reputations​ (IBJJF)​.
  2. Coaches and Academies: Coaches must now emphasize clean training practices and ensure their athletes adhere to anti-doping regulations. This shift may necessitate additional education and changes in training regimens to prevent accidental violations.
  3. Fans and Sponsors: For fans, the assurance that competitions are fair enhances the sport’s credibility and appeal. Sponsors, too, are more likely to invest in a sport that demonstrates a commitment to integrity and ethical conduct.

Integrating VAR for Improved Officiating

Beyond anti-doping measures, the IBJJF is also exploring the integration of advanced technology, such as the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system, to enhance officiating accuracy and match outcomes. VAR systems can provide real-time video analysis to assist referees in making more informed decisions, thereby reducing human error and increasing transparency in match outcomes​ (IBJJF)​.

Statistics and Results

The 2023 World Jiu-Jitsu Championship showcased the prowess of many athletes, with standout performances across various divisions. In the men’s absolute division, Victor Hugo claimed the top spot, while Gabrieli Pessanha dominated the women’s absolute category​ (Jitsmagazine.com)​. These results highlight the competitive spirit and high level of skill present in the sport today.


The introduction of anti-doping measures and the potential integration of VAR in IBJJF competitions signify a crucial step towards ensuring fair play and integrity in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. As the sport continues to evolve, these advancements promise to uphold its core values and enhance its global appeal. However, these changes also pose new challenges and responsibilities for athletes, coaches, and officials alike. As we look to the future, one question remains: How will these measures reshape the landscape of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and what further innovations lie ahead?

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