Technically they are two different submissions, and both are mean techniques from the 10th Planet system, thanks to Eddie Bravo.
The Banana Split is a submission that works by separating the legs apart, i.e. excessive bilateral hip abduction.
What structures are affected? Muscles (adductor longus, adductor brevis, adductor magnus, i.e. groin muscles + gracilis, pectinus) and ligaments (pubofemoral ligament) are stretched with hip abduction.
While excessive hip abduction does stress the pubofemoral ligament, most often the limiting structures for this submission are the groin muscles, particularly because the muscles on both legs are stretched simultaneously.
The Crotch Ripper on the other hand, works by causing one leg to be flexed and the other extended.
The hip typically has 120 degrees of flexion, but only 20 degrees of extension. This means maximum hip extension is reached first. When the hip is brought into hyperextension, it challenges muscles (psoas), ligaments (iliofemoral ligament) and connective tissue (inferior posterior joint capsule).
In addition to the affected iliofemoral joint (hip), this motion also causes pelvic torsion, as both innominates rotate in opposite directions. While this submission is slightly influenced by muscles, it primarily attacks the ligaments and iliofemoral joint capsule. The iliofemoral ligament is thick and can withstand a significant amount of force, but your opponent’s muscle flexibility will not influence their ability to withstand the submission.
So how do they differ?
The Banana Split is a groin stretch while the Crotch Ripper attacks the hip joint.
The disadvantage to the Banana Split is applying it on someone with adequate adductor flexibility may be able to withstand the submission without tapping.
An important note when applying the Banana Split is that since it targets the adductors, a muscle strain is likely, and recovery from adductor strains are often very slow.
Based on this information, the Banana Split is likely more dangerous of a technique, but affects a limited population.
Dr. Mike Piekarski, DPT
BJJ Brown Belt
Former MMA Fighter