Allan Di Lucia on the Importance of Being a Referee

By Danny O’Donnell

Referees in sporting events are often described as “thankless” jobs. They require a lot of hard work and the perceived reward is minimal. Allan Di Lucia of the Soul Fighters Jiu Jitsu association has a different perspective. “As a competitor, I always had questions and complaints about the rules and the referees. When I got my brown belt, I decided that was time to put myself in their shoes and learn more about the sport that I love. Also, being a referee helps a lot to instruct the students on a competition situation.” Allan got into competition early in his Jiu Jitsu career. “I competed a lot before the black belt, but I had to turn my life around and focus more on teaching. I love to compete and I still have plans to be back on the mats and test myself.”

Allan started Jiu Jitsu over 13 years ago, being inspired to learn the art that his uncle Marcus Vinicius Di Lucia had been involved in for as long as he could remember. Allan’s love for competition and his desire to help his students in any way he could were two of the main reasons he was compelled to become certified as a referee. “Once I made the decision to live from Jiu Jitsu, I felt it was mandatory to learn every single part of the Jiu Jitsu world. I can explain and make a game plan for my students based on my knowledge of the rule set, and many times that was decisive in taking the gold.”

As a competitor it’s often easy to be critical of a referee. When they make a good call we rarely applaud but when he or she makes a mistake we are quick to condemn. Being a referee gives you perspective and therefore not only helps you as a coach and a competitor, but also as a person. “Being a referee gives you the power of taking control of the situation and making the Jiu Jitsu scenario better. So if you want the best for the sport you love, you should learn everything you can about it and be willing to take control, to make the difference.”

In addition to being an instructor and the head referee for the AZBJJF, Allan also has a variety of other projects he’s currently working on. “Our team is growing a lot and now we’re focused on offering Jiu Jitsu for everyone who wants to try. The Soul Fighters AZ team offers, through the Unlimited BJJ, a non profit organization, Jiu Jitsu classes for special needs students FOR FREE. We’re also getting ready to offer free classes for veterans who were harmed in the line of duty. Soul Fighters BJJ is focused on making Jiu Jitsu grow in Arizona and showing the world how amazing our sport is!”

For more information on Allan and the Soul Fighter’s organization please visit For information regarding referee certification courses for the AZBJJF please email [email protected]