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Diversity In MMA: Bellator MMA Europe Matchmaker Jude Samuel

Diversity In MMA is a series that takes a close look at the untold storylines of color within the mixed martial arts industry.

Diversity In MMA is a series that takes a close look at the untold storylines of color within the mixed martial arts industry.

Mixed martial arts is a growing beast that while evolving, has yet to face its diversity problems. From its East Asian traditional martial arts beginnings to its Brazilian makeover and eventual USA takeover, martial arts has always been diverse. But it has sacrificed a higher level of inclusion for pop culture compromise. 

Bellator President Scott Coker announced this week that Jude Samuel will head Bellators European fighter relations, talent development and matchmaking efforts. Samuel, who most recently served as VP of Talent Relations for BAMMA in London, joins Bellator as the organization continues its global expansion with announced plans for a western Europe-based fight series.

A 2x IBJJF European Champion, Samuel is one of the U.K.s first Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts and currently runs his academy at the Inglorious Grapplers Gym in Central London, in addition to teaching guest seminars throughout the year.


The decorated BJJ black belt since 2005, Samuel also heads up central Londons Inglorious Grapplers. In 1981, Mauricio Gomes was awarded his Black Belt by Rolls Gracie, an event that was to mark a new beginning in his study and mastery of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. In 2003, his son Roger Gracie was promoted to Black Belt by Renzo Gracie at the behest of his uncle Carlos Gracie Jr and his almost unchecked domination of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Submission wrestling followed.


Sometimes you have to follow what you are genuinely passionate about and let that guide you to your deserving destination, said Samuel. Bellator is extremely passionate about the grass roots development of our beloved sport. My appointment as a U.K. and Western Europe-based matchmaker clearly states that. This is not only my opportunity, but something that will benefit the high-level athletes in Europe, and the generations of the cream of the crop athletes to follow. As a matchmaker and avid martial artist, nothing could excite me more. 

Jude Samuel on Twitter

Yes i’ve resigned from BAMMA and to thank you all for being part of my career. You’ve all been import to my journey and I hope that I was able to have a positive influence. Thank you all for all your help over the last 9 years.

In 2005, a new era is dawned in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu scene in the United Kingdom with Mauricio Gomes awarding Jude Samuel his Black Belt after almost 7 years under his tutelage. In 2009 after teaching at Gracie Barra London and the Roger Gracie Academy for almost 6 plus years, Jude decided to take a break from teaching and concentrate on the development of his academy. A constant competitor he made his MMA debut in November 2009 to add to the many other BJJ titles he already holds.


We are pleased to welcome Jude to the Bellator team, said Coker. His familiarity with the U.K. and European MMA landscape will be instrumental as we move to create a greater presence for Bellator in those markets. I look forward to working with him as we continue the overall growth of the brand and the organization.

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Samuel will continue to be based in London, where has worked in mixed martial arts for over 15 years. Prior to serving as BAMMAs matchmaker, Samuel owned European Fight Network Sports, a site dedicated to martial arts event coverage and the development of the grappling circuit in the U.K.


Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the
PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider’s take featuring the world’s biggest names.