Written By: Hector Silva
Photographer: Jaime Herrera
This past Saturday, February 19th, The Pasadena Convention Center played host to the 15th annual Dungal Submission Fighting Championships. The Dungal tournament is one of the longest running tournaments in all of the United States and has unique rule system that made the competitors chase the submission and not points.
I was able to pull Master Zulfi Ahmed away from his duties as M.C. to have a word with him about the Dungal and the way its run. He is an 8th degree black belt under Muang Gyi and the youngest 8th degree black belt form his home country in Pakistan. We talked about the history of the Dungals as well as the days event.
“Today’s tournament has been one of the largest and most smoothly run events we’ve had. This is our 15th annual Dungal. We have guys from some of the top gyms in the area including Soliz Martial Arts, Hoger Martial Arts, Paradigm, several Bushi Bans, and goodness gracious even Gracie Barra. We have guys from many top gyms and many high quality competitors and I am very happy the way the tournament has gone,” Zulif said.
“We have had very few injuries,l thank god for that and were just happy for the tournament,” he added.
For those not formiliar with the Dungal rules, there are 2 rounds, that are 5 minutes in length each. If there is no submission in the first round the judge/referee will only judge the second round. There is absolutely no point system and the winner is determined by domination and attacking.
“We have always been submission oriented. Dungal is actually 100’s of years old, it is not a new tournament. We have been doing this in America for 15 years. We are one of the oldest consistently running events in the United States and we have always had the same rules. We have never been point orientated and we will never BE point orientated! It is for no-gi division and no points are awarded; it is a 100 yr. old tradition,” said Master Zulfi.
The rules can sometimes lead to some questionable decisions, but Saturday was a great competition over all and what helped make it so good was that all of the judges/referees where either black belts or professional fighters.
The fact that this was a no-gi submission based tournament brought a lot of top level MMA fighters to not only watch but to compete as well. Fighters like Dale Mitchell (Silverback Fight Club), Angel Huerta (Paradigm/Gracie Barra Texas), Humberto de Leon (Bushi Ban), Colin Wright (Paradigm), Rey Trujillio (Paradigm/Bushi Ban), and Alex Black (Bushi Ban). Also competing were Houston area BJJ main stays like Jason Solis and Renan Chavez.
Black (who was a referee for the event) commented on how the tournament impacted the MMA community.
“I think its helping the MMA game you see alot of good quality fighters lately here, so its a big tournament. I think its the biggest one we’ve had so it’s helping the MMA community because you cant fight every week, but you can go do grappling tournaments whenever you want so that helps out with your experience,” he said.
A spectacle of a match was when Colin Wright from Paradigm who fights in the amateur 135lbs division her ein Houston, took on Silverback’s Professional Heavyweight Dale Mitchell. Mitchell is one of the larget heavyweights in Houston and is perhaps best known for his cage moving (and breaking) takedown of Rakim Clevelad at WGC back in December. Wright, who was outweighed by at least 100lbs, was able to push the match into the second 5 minute round by controlling the much bigger and stronger Mitchell from half guard and full guard. Dale pulled a kimura from half guard half way thorough the second round to win the close nail bitter.
All of the matches in the open division were equally as exciting. Paradigm pulled off a clean sweep as instructors Igor Santos, Renan Chavez, and gym owner Reed Shelger took 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. They chose not to compete against each other and divided the prize money amongst themselves. Paradigm also took home the team trophy with none of their competitors not placing.
Here is a video fo the match between Renan Chaves (Paradigm Training Center) and Jason Solis (Sugarland MMA)