Eddie Bravo Invitational (EBI) 9 has suffered a big casualty. EBI’s middleweight and absolute champion, Gordon Ryan, was seeking his third belt, but sustained a cut to the eyelid during training and had to bow out of the event, scheduled for this Sunday, Nov. 6, in the U.S. But the organization moved quickly and announced his training mate Garry Tonon for the 16-man medium heavyweight tourney.
John Danaher, who coaches both Ryan and Tonon, wrote on Facebook:
Sad news: Gordon Ryan suffered a nasty cut on the eyelid today during his last day of hard sparring in preparation for EBI 9. It has been tightly stitched and dressed but there is no way he will be able to compete on Sunday. He will be replaced by Garry Tonon. Gordon was already the smallest man on the card and Garry is a weight division below Mr Ryan, so this will be a tough assignment indeed. Mr Tonon was himself cut during training in England, but his cut is much less severe and in a much less sensitive area than Mr Ryan’s. He will be ready to go by Sunday…
Now the lineup for EBI 9 looks like this:
Smallest competitor – biggest skill set and heart: Garry Tonon walks around at 167 pounds and could easily make the EBI 145 pound division (he does not, as we like to see Eddie Cummings rule that domain). This Sunday he will take on athletes coming down from up to 230-240 pounds to weigh in at 205 for EBI 9. This might seem like a suicide mission – and for most, it would be. Mr Tonon however, has a long history of going up to fight bigger men. When he was a brown belt he took on Buchecha and Cyborg at ADCC and only lost narrowly by points. He dominated most of the action against Rousimar Palhares is a thrilling draw, despite a colossal size and strength disadvantage. He lost by negative guard pull to Vinny Magalhaes after pushing hard for submissions the whole match. He has beaten by submission, Ralek Gracie and Gilbert Burns despite a big size and strength disadvantage. In all my coaching experience I have not seen a grappling athlete with bigger heart and a stronger desire to go out and compete against anyone, any time, any place. Rest assured, the squad may have had a setback today, but come Sunday we shall come out all guns blazing Tomorrow the senpai and kohai will train and drill and get ready for this new challenge – one which represents the best spirit of jiu jitsu – the belief that with superior technique and strategy, greater size and strength can be controlled and overwhelmed by lesser.