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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Major martial arts event coming to campus

The+2013+IBJJF+Boston+Open+was+held+in+the+Clark+Athletic+Center+last+August
The 2013 IBJJF Boston Open was held in the Clark Athletic Center last August

The International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) Boston Open will be held in the Clark Athletic Center on April 5. This will be the 5th IBJJF event to be held on campus. The events typically feature 700 competitors. IBJJF officials got in touch with the university through a friend who used to live in the area when they were originally looking for host sites.
The roar of the crowd was invigorating and the excitement palpable at the IBJJF Summer Open last year. Athletic Department Community Outreach and Engagement Coordinator Oderra Jones described events like grappling contests as both a “consistent revenue stream” and a way to showcase the university to people who may have otherwise never visited.
The athletics department hosts several special events throughout the year. Many focus on the community, such has high school basketball championship games, as well as kids and senior athletic competitions. These groups are not charged a fee beyond the cost of operations but, according to Jones, “being a part of the city is part of the university’s mission. Also with the high school tournaments we are introducing the university to parents and kids who are starting to think about college so while they may not generate revenue they may contribute to enrollment.”
Because of that, construction is becoming a “definite concern” according to Associate Business Manager for IT and License Agreements Dave Marsters. “We have already lost the Susan G. Coleman walk for a cure. Construction will temporarily disrupt our ability to host some of the larger events. The concern is that in the meantime the organizations will find other venues and will not return.”
Marsters described timing as being the key factor when renting facilities to outside groups. “There is a hierarchy of events: university athletics, university events, community events, and finally new events. A lot of the people we rent too are community groups in the city of Boston that we have been partnered with for a long time and we wouldn’t want to disrupt those events in favor of new events. Fortunately though, we were able to find time for the IBJJF.”
The university also hosted a North America Grapplers Association event for the first time last year. Jones commented on the decision to bring martial arts events to campus.
“We have to be mindful that we are a state institution and that what people see here represents the university so events have to look a certain way and they have to run a certain way. In that respect both groups are very professional.” Jones added that for now grappling is probably as far into the fight world that the University would venture.
Events like the Boston Open have perks for University of Massachusetts Boston staff. Athletics department trainers are hired by the IBJJF to work the event, in addition to campus police, IT, and maintenance personnel.