The Club and the competition ADCC World Submission Fighting Championships were the idea and creation of a UAE national Sheik Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the son of then U.A.E. leader Sheik Zayed. who at the time was completing his advanced studies in USA. In 1993 after watching the first U.F.C. Sheik Tahnoon the became a fan of MMA. Shortly after that he started studying Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in San Diego, California. Upon completing his studies, Sheik Tahnoon returned to the U.A.E. but his passion for Martial arts did not stop. Sheik Tahnoon set out to create and build his vision of implementing Martial Arts not only in his native U.A.E. but also creating a standard for which all ground fighting martial arts would be measured.
To put his vision to reality Sheik Tahnoon developed and propelled a two fold plan; to implement the growth of Martial Arts in the U.A.E. Sheik Tahnoon created the ADCC (Abu Dhabi Combat Club). Sheik Tahnoon converted an idle facility in Abu Dhabi into a Martial Arts Club. He began by hiring top instructors in various martial Arts, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Wrestling, Sambo, Muay Thai etc. and giving them a World class facility to minister their classes and to train top professional fighters. Soon the ADCC became the top facility for learning and training MMA in the Arab World.
At the ADCC facilities World class instructors teach Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Sambo, Boxing, Kickboxing, Judo, Wrestling and various other arts beneficial to MMA and No Rules Fighting.
The goals of Abu Dhabi Combat Club are to generally promote a healthy lifestyle by educating members in nutrition and to train people in all aspects of self defense, which in turn builds self-confidence.
The President of Abu Dhabi Combat Club is H.E. Sheikh Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the Vice President of Abu Dhabi Combat Club is H.E. Sheikh Tahnoun Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The Competition ADCC World Submission Fighting Championship:
The second part of Sheik Tahnoon’s plan was perhaps harder to accomplish but even more rewarding as after the implementation of his plan Sheik Tahnoon had not only created the best grappling tournament in the World, but in that process he created a whole new fighting modality: Submission Fighting .
As he became more and more proficient in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, Sheik Tahnoon saw flaws in the then philosophy of GJJ, the fact that at the time, the majority of practitioners ignored lower body submissions such as knee and foot locks. Sheik Tahnoon however is a man who followed his own ideas and soon he embarked in a course that would create a whole new sport that has taken over the World.
Tahnoon proceed to learn Russian Sambo and his thirst of knowledge led him to other fighting styles like wrestling and Judo. While learning all these styles Tahnoon often came across the same questions or the same statements by instructors of different styles: “My art is better than all others. If you know you can beat any other fighting style!” the problem at the time was that since every fighting style had their own set of rules, once again it was impossible to establish which one was the most effective.
With this idea in mind Sheik Tahnoon created a new competition and a set of “neutral” rules that would allow practitioners of various martial arts to compete against each other and without the brutality of strikes, prove to themselves and others that their style was the most effective “grappling” style available, thus in 1998 the first Abu Dhabi Combat Club(ADCC) World Submission Fighting Championships was created. The rules of ADCC rewarded points that allowed all the grappling styles equal chance additionally, ADCC allowed most submission attacks (except for spinal attacks) thus unshackling the restrictions of each martial art style and creating a neutral ground where GJJ, Sambo, Judo, Wrestling and any other fighting style could compete against each other. ADCC had 16 fighters in each of 5 weight divisions and the Absolute competing for the title. Additionally ADCC Tournament had a great benefit that was not found in any other grappling competition at the time, a large monetary prize for the winners of each weight division. For the first time ever fighters could compete and receive monetary prizes without having to submit to the dangers of strikes thus creating a great venue for up and coming fighters to expose their skills and develop their game prior to competing in MMA.
The first edition of ADCC took place on March 20, 21 & 22, 1998 in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. Despite its novelty and lack of publicity (because of lack specialized media at the time), the first ADCC tournament still attracted some of the best “grapplers” in the World a the time, while others, afraid of perhaps bias in the rules of worried about exposing themselves in a different format remained home and awaited the end of the event to make their judgment and passed on the chance to compete in March 1998
After the completion of the first event, with competitors returning home raving about the quality of the event and the equality of the rules, what followed was an explosion of interest for the next years. With each edition, more and more top fighters from the four corners of the World actively began training and preparing for ADCC. With the increased interest a problem started to occur there were too many entrants for the available 16 spots, thus forcing ADCC to create regional qualifying trials. Soon Submission Grappling spread throughout the four corners of the World and a new and exciting sport was created.
ADCC Champions and top competitors became highly sought commodities for MMA Events and soon became stars in shows like U.F.C. in America and Pride andK1 in Japan. Names like Royler Gracie, Mark Kerr, Matt Hughes, Ricardo Arona, Tito Ortiz, Rodrigo “Minotauro”, Dean Lister, Ricco Rodrigues, Ricardo Arona, Matt Lindland, Tom Erickson, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza & Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro just to name a few, had or currently have successful careers in MMA.
The ever expansion of Submission Fighting led by the huge success of ADCC spawned amateur leagues around the World, and with each year, the number of competitors in these and other like events grew tremendously, and ADCC Championships is and has been always considered the pinnacle of the modality. The creation of one visionary, ADCC now has become the beacon of a new generation and a new sport.