Q&A: How The Effects Of Shutdown Brought Tom DeBlass Out of Retirement

tom deblass.jpg

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Tom DeBlass last competed in grappling in August of 2019 with a submission win in Atlantic City. The ADCC vet is known as one of the most influential figures in the grappling community and he makes his return to action in a title match at Fight to Win 157 on Nov 14. 

FloGrappling: It's good to see you back in action after nearly a year out. You said you retired in 2019, but would it be fair to say that recent events brought you back?

Tom DeBlass: When the pandemic hit I was really worried about my school. And ONE Championship offered me an amazing deal I couldn't turn down, so I accepted. It was really worth the deal. I am supposed to fight early next year so I figured I'd warm up with a grappling match. Sometimes life takes unexpected turns. I'm never going to officially announce retirement again. I didn't expect this to happen, it's been 15 months, but here we are. 

FG: You've been pretty open that you struggled at times during lockdown. How were you affected, both personally and professionally? How are things now, and how did you work on turning this around?

TD: In lockdown I did struggle. But I actually flourished financially in every aspect– my DVDs took off, my school never took a hit, but to see so many other people losing their businesses and losing their schools, their hard work, it crushed me, it killed me. It was almost like a direct attack on business owners and I kind of lost my mind a little bit. But I'm back now, and I'm more positive than ever. 

FG: Let's talk about the match. Chad "Kodiak" Fields is a tough guy and a frequent competitor out of Fight Sports. You'll be squaring off for the Masters title belt. Not exactly a "gimme" match for a comeback!

TD: Chad is not a "gimme" match whatsoever and that's why I want it. I think he's a guy that actually deserves more attention. I think he could inspire so many people around the world: a middle-aged guy grinding, bettering himself. He's already successful, he moves to train with one of the best teams in the world, one of the best teachers– I have utmost respect for Cyborg, we're doing a camp together in February– I Know Chad is a tough guy. He's won everything at the Masters, and I think this match is going to be amazing. We both like each other and respect each other, and I'm just going to give my best and see what happens. 

FG: Some of your students have been really active lately. Competing in Philly, are you bringing a crew?

TD: I have my guys competing as well. My purple belts went 4-0 on the last Fight to Win. Cameron Mellot, he's the F2W champ at purple belt and brown belt, he's going to get a black belt shot soon. 

I just had Sam Micale join my squad. After he competed against Cameron, he joined my team, he's unbelievable with his leg locks, and his addition to my team is going to benefit both of us. He's going to be competing on F2W representing me this time. 

Jaidyn Mueller will be there, my students Calvin Tacey, Tyler Rivera, Grant Kenny, Tommy Tropea, Garret Lavaggi and Miranda Zona are competing, it's going to be pretty amazing. 

FG: Is there anything else you'd like to say? 

TD: Lastly I just want to say to everybody the jiu-jitsu community thank you so much for your support. My instructional, I'm so happy that you guys enjoy them and it means the world to me. I lost my mind a little bit during the pandemic and not everybody even realized but I did. But now I'm back and I'll bring people the positivity they deserve. And thanks to FloGrappling once again for always bringing us the best in the world, I appreciate you guys. 


The Time Tom DeBlass Broke Gordon's Leg

null

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In


Tom DeBlass Technique: Clock Choke

null

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In


Tom DeBlass wins at Fight to Win Pro 72 via heelhook


null

Create a free account to unlock this video!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In



Techniques That Work: Deblass Shows Simple Sweep

null

Create a free account to unlock this video!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In



Mikey Musumeci Will Step Out Of His Comfort Zone Again At WNO

Mikey Musumeci no-gi

The last two times Mikey Musumeci competed in no-gi competition, he won a gold medal at the IBJJF No-Gi Worlds. A three-time world champion in the gi, Mikey's road to gold was no easy task in no-gi, defeating long time rival and current top ranked bantamweight Joao Miyao in the finals - 

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Grappling Bulletin: The First Heel Hook in IBJJF History

first ibjjf heel hook.JPG

The long-anticipated debut of heel hooks in the IBJJF no-gi format has finally arrived. The Dallas No-Gi Open went down on Sunday, March 7. It was a historic event as the first tournament in the history of the IBJJF to allow heel hooks for adult brown and black belts. 

Johnny Tama And Oliver Taza Will Square Off At Who's Number One On March 26

Taza Tama announcement WNO

Johnny Tama and Oliver Taza will join the Who’s Number One card on March 26 in a prelim match to be streamed live for free on FloGrappling’s Facebook and YouTube channels.

'I Was Wrong': Regretful Andre Galvao Apologizes To Jiu-Jitsu Community

Andre Galvao by Bane Visnjic 3.jpg

Andre Galvao made his first statement since his incident with Gordon Ryan at WNO last Friday. Speaking in an Instagram live stream, Galvao assumed responsibility for the altercation and apologized to the jiu-jitsu community. 

How to Watch: Fight to Win 166

riba tackett.JPG

Here's how to watch the Fight to Win 166 on FloGrappling.

Kade Ruotolo & Ethan Crelinsten To Run It Back At WNO On March 26

ethan kade wNO

Who's Number One (WNO) returns March 26th for another stacked event, with WNO: Gordon Ryan vs Vagner Rocha! The pound-for-pound King is back for his fourth match at WNO where he'll be taking on the top middleweight grappler in the world in Vagner Rocha.

Maggie Grindatti To Face Rafaela Guedes At Who's Number One On March 26

WNO-MainCard-1920x1080-Matchup.png

Two of the best women in the 145 lb division will face off on the main card at Who’s Number One: Gordon Ryan vs Vagner Rocha on March 26. 

Vagner Rocha's Base Is Nearly Unsweepable | Stats Report

null

Create a free account to unlock this video!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Vagner Rocha has a reputation.

Mikey Musumeci Set To Make WNO Debut Against Marcelo Cohen March 26

Mikey Marcelo WNO

Who's Number One (WNO) returns March 26th for another stacked event with WNO: Gordon Ryan vs Vagner Rocha! The pound-for-pound King is back for his fourth match at WNO where he'll be taking on the top middleweight grappler in the world in Vagner Rocha.

Buchecha Confirms MMA Debut, Faces Undefeated KO Artist

null

Create a free account to unlock this video!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Buchecha's long-awaited MMA debut has a date. The ADCC and IBJJF World champion will enter the ring with ONE Championship in Singapore on April 14.