Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu white Belt Anthony Williams bid an emotional farewell to the sport this weekend following a fourth-place performance in the 2023 Grapplers Fight Missouri Open Men’s Executive Middleweight White Belt No-Gi division. Facing off in a bronze-medal match with Tyrese Hampton, Williams succumbed to a D’Arce choke at 0:57 while trailing 4-0 on points. Following the match, Williams ran off mat briefly to grab his white belt and hold it aloft overhead before laying it in the center of Mat 5 and dropping to his knees, overcome by the moment.
“It’s been a long run to get me here,” Williams said. “When I saw that ad for a New Year, New You special I never thought that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu would come to be such an important part of who I am. Unfortunately, any great athlete eventually reaches the time where they have to know they’ve taken it as far as it can go, and it’s time to make way for the next generation. For me, that time is today.”
The retirement of Williams leaves a massive hole in the five-man division, with many speculating on the effect this will have on the upcoming Kansas City Shootout 2023 tournament. Gracious in victory, Hampton acknowledged Williams’ incredible career, noting that tournaments in and around the greater Kansas City area will not be the same without him.