Since Mackenzie Dern’s win over Gabi Garcia in the Open Semi-Final Saturday at the UAJJF WP Championships the internet’s been a buzz on whether or not Gabi should have received points for a takedown. Being there and watching in person I was under the opinion that it was a guard pull. After watching the video many times and gathering some screen captures I believe that the call on the mats was indeed the correct call and that no points should have given to Gabi for a takedown. UAJJF Rules (which are practically identical to IBJJF) state in all definitions of a takedown under 4.1 of the rule book: “If an athlete forces his/her opponent to the ground…” in addition 4.1 goes on to state “• Athletes who initiate a takedown movement after the opponent has pulled guard shall not be awarded the two points or advantage point relating to the move.”
As we can see in the video and in the screen grabs Gabi does nothing to “force” Mackenzie to the ground.
Rule 3.6 states: “Athletes who begin a takedown movement before the opponent pulls guard shall be awarded two points or an advantage point for the move, respecting the takedown rule.”
The keyword on that one is “before,” Mackenzie initiated contact with grabbing the gi, then moving her feet forward and then jumping with her right foot off the mat while Gabi’s left hand palm was still wide open. By my interpretation of the rules, competition experience, and the video I don’t believe Gabi began a takedown movement before Mackenzie pulls guard.
The only argument I could see holding water would be when do you actually consider a guard pull a guard pull? At the point it’s initiated or at the point it is actually a “guard?”
In the rule book guard is defined as the following: “Guard is defined by the use of one or more legs to block the opponent from reaching side-control or north-south position over the athlete on bottom.”
So there you go, it’s official, my opinion that is, no points.
At the time Gabi felt points should have been awarded and said something to the ref about getting those points. This resulted in a penalty being awarded for breaking rule 6.4.13 “When an athlete communicates with the referee by speaking or with gestures, except when he/she is reporting a medical issue.”
That penalty would be the deciding factor giving Mackenzie the win and the opportunity to advance to the final which she later won.