The AJP Tour returned to London this weekend ©AJP

Operations manager of Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu Pro (AJP) Rodrigo Valerio has revealed television deals could be on the horizon for the professional organisation, as the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam returned to the Copper Box Arena here in London.

Valerio said that the AJP was focused on reaching its audience through digital platforms including on YouTube, but this could lead to a more global audience if its success continues.

He revealed there were discussions with broadcasters such as the United Arab Emirates' Abu Dhabi Sports, with a look at the Brazilian market too.

"We are a very niche market so people come to us through YouTube or on our own channels," said Valerio to insidethegames. 

"We are not on mainstream broadcast channels and we need to generate more digital content which people can share and like.

"We've partnered up with the Jiu-Jitsu International Federation (JJIF) where they have the goals towards the Olympics. 

"We want to strengthen the sport's power to become more involved in mainstream channels.

"There are some channels already interested in buying the rights."

Rules were changed for the AJP Tour to make competition more exciting ©AJP
Rules were changed for the AJP Tour to make competition more exciting ©AJP

Part of Valerio's strategy is to make the sport more attractive to a casual audience, with regulations being altered for the 2021-2022 AJP Tour season.

"We changed the rules one year ago to be more active and attractive and easier for the spectators," he added. 

"We adapted the regulations but not all the rules on the mat. 

"It's more exciting and maybe spectators can now understand the rules.

"We changed matches from 10 minutes to five minutes. 

"A penalty or advantage becomes a point. 

"Before, if you had two points, you'd win against 10 advantages - but not now. 

"Any advantage becomes one point so if a player is active and fighting, you will be rewarded straight away."

A "golden score" rule was introduced too, meaning whoever scores last wins the match if it ends in a scoring tie, while video assistant referee (VAR) technology is being used too.

VAR is already used in sports like football ©Getty Images
VAR is already used in sports like football ©Getty Images

"It will give us more credibility," said Valerio.

"Before everyone blamed the referees even in other sports, so we became more focused on this point to make it a fairer game for the players."

He noted there was 132 events scheduled for this season, showing a return to normality following the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, with $3 million (£2.28 million/€2.71 million) in cash prizes being handed out over the AJP Tour season, three years on from its inception.

Further expressing his excitement for the future, Valerio noted that Turkey was holding its first AJP jiu-jitsu tournament yesterday, with the AJP Tour Turkey National Pro.

Expansion through Africa is a target too with Angola, Morocco and South Africa already visited, while Beijing and Sydney are set to hold their first AJP Grand Slams next season.

Valerio noted that there could be an increase from six to eight Grand Slams for the 2022-2023 campaign too.