I’m a bit late to the party, but Luke Thomas recently interviewed Eddie Cummings. You can listen to the audio below or read a partial transcript here.
Despite the clickbait-ish title, there’s no drama but a lot of fantastic conversation going on — rulesets, crediting invention, educating referees, etc. And I agree with a lot of it but here’s one part where I don’t:
I don’t believe jiu-jitsu is going to become a spectator sport the way, say, baseball or football or cricket are. I think it’s a very cerebral sport, it’s very intricate.
These things — a cerebral and a spectator sport — are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Eddie later cites the example of chess which is sure as hell not a spectator sport. But consider an esport like League of Legends: it’s cerebral as well and very intricate. If you haven’t put serious hours into it, there is no way you can enjoy the action. You’ll get the broad picture of who wins, but that’s about it.
Look at 33:43.
And yet major League of Legends events have a massive audience. I’m not saying BJJ will ever reach those numbers — there are far more League of Legends players than BJJ practionners, so many more potential spectators. But with a much improved spectating culture and more general awareness of grappling, who knows?