Gracie in September 2007
|Born||12 December 1966|
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
|Other names||The Ultimate Fighter|
Ichizoku Saikyo no Otoko ("The Strongest of the Family")
|Height||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Weight||176 lb (80 kg; 12.6 st)|
|Reach||194 cm (76 in)|
|Fighting out of||Torrance, California, United States|
|Rank||7th degree red/black coral belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu|
|Years active||1993–1995, 2000–2003, 2006–2007, 2015 (MMA)|
|Mixed martial arts record|
|Notable relatives||Gracie Family|
|Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog|
Royce Gracie (Portuguese: [ˈhɔjsi ˈɡɾejsi]; born 12 December 1966) is a Brazilian semi-retired professional mixed martial artist, a UFC Hall of Famer, and a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu practitioner. A member of the famed Gracie family, he is considered to be one of the most influential figures in the history of MMA.
Gracie gained fame for his success in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Between 1993 and 1994, he was the tournament winner of UFC 1, UFC 2, UFC 4, and fought to a draw with Ken Shamrock in the championship match in the Superfight at UFC 5. Gracie popularized Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and revolutionized mixed martial arts with his results contributing to the movement towards grappling and ground fighting in the sport.
Mixed martial arts career
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)
In his first match, Gracie defeated journeyman boxer Art Jimmerson. He tackled him to the ground using a baiana (morote-gari or double-leg) and obtained the dominant "mounted" position, also pinning Jimmerson's left arm around the boxer's own neck. Mounted and with only one free arm Jimmerson conceded defeat.
In the next tournament, Gracie began his defense of the title by submitting Japanese fighter Minoki Ichihara - a second degree black belt in Karatedo Daido Juku and Kyokushin karate, who was billed by the UFC at the time as a "living legend" in Tokyo, who had won over 60 full-contact fights. The fight had gone 5:08, which was longer than Royce's 3 bouts in the first event (totaling 4:59). Advancing into the quarterfinals, Royce Gracie defeated future Pancrase veteran Jason DeLucia, submitting him via armbar just over a minute into the bout. Gracie then submitted 250-lb Judo and Taekwondo black belt Remco Pardoel with a lapel choke, and finally won the final bout against Patrick Smith, when his opponent submitted to punches from the top position.
At UFC 3, Royce was matched up in the first round against Kimo Leopoldo and won via submission after 4 minutes and 40 seconds. However, he then withdrew from his next fight with Harold Howard before it began due to exhaustion and dehydration. Royce entered into the ring and threw in the towel. This was the first event which Gracie did not win.
Gracie submitted 51-year-old Ron van Clief in the opening round with a rear naked choke, and then submitted Keith Hackney in the semi-finals. Gracie's final UFC victory was in a match that lasted for 16 minutes (there were no rounds or time limits at the time), during which he was continuously pinned underneath 260 pound (118 kg) wrestler Dan Severn. To end the match, Royce locked his legs in a triangle choke for a submission victory. The match extended beyond the pay-per-view time-slot and viewers, who missed the end of the fight, demanded their money back.
Time limits were re-introduced into the sport in 1995 and Ken Shamrock would become the first fighter to survive Royce Gracie's submission attack and earn a draw. The match lasted for 30 minutes and a 6-minute overtime. The draw sparked much debate and controversy as to who would have won the fight had judges determined the outcome, or had there been no time limits, as by the end of the fight Gracie's right eye was swollen shut. However, the swollen eye was a result of a standing punch due to a sudden change of the rules in which both of the fighters were restarted on their feet. After this fight Gracie left the UFC.
We feel that no two individuals are more deserving than Royce and Ken to be the charter members. Their contributions to our sport, both inside and outside the Octagon, may never be equaled.
Royce's challenge letters
Throughout his UFC days, Royce frequently challenged well-known fighters—though usually to no avail—to "fight to the finish, any place and any time." Many big-name sportspeople, including Mike Tyson (who was serving the prison term at the time,) received the note several times in an open letter fashion, usually published by the Black Belt Magazine at The Ultimate Fighter column.
PRIDE Fighting Championships
Attempts to sign Royce
Gracie was originally going to debut in PRIDE Fighting Championships in their 1998 PRIDE 2 event, where he would be pitted against fellow UFC champion Mark Kerr. The Gracie side demanded special rules without time limit or referee stoppage, which were accepted. However, Royce pulled out due to a back injury after the fight had been advertised. Royce's spot against Kerr was then offered to his brother Rickson, but he rejected it as well, believing he would not have enough time to prepare for the match.
Bout with Sakuraba
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Kazushi Sakuraba, a professional wrestler who derived his foundation in submissions not from jiu jitsu but rather from catch wrestling and shoot wrestling, rose up in the year's stablemate and master Nobuhiko Takada, before finding himself matched up with Gracie. The two battled for an hour and a half. Early in the fight, Sakuraba nearly ended things with a kneebar towards the end of the first round. Later on, Royce returned the favor with a guillotine choke. Indeed, the Gracie's own no time-limit rules began to work against Royce when Sakuraba, displaying much better conditioning, kept punishing Royce instead of going for submissions, prolonging the match.
As the fight wore on however, Sakuraba's wrestling skills and balance nullified Royce's ability to score a takedown and—in some instances—even pull guard. Royce's ever-present jiu-jitsu gi became a weapon for the wrestler to use against him as Sakuraba used it to help him control Gracie on the instances the fight did come to the ground. However, with Sakuraba's control of the takedown, these instances of ground warfare became increasingly sporadic. After the 90 minute battle of punishing low kicks, Royce's brother threw in the towel. Gracie could no longer stand and suffered a broken femur from accumulated damage. Sakuraba would go on to defeat other members of the Gracie family including Renzo Gracie and Ryan Gracie earning him the nickname "Gracie Hunter."
Bouts with Yoshida
Gracie returned to PRIDE in 2002 to fight Japanese gold-medalist judoka Hidehiko Yoshida in a special "Judo vs. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu" limited rules MMA match. Royce started the fight pulling guard and attempting a heel hook and an armbar, with Hidehiko blocking them and coming back with a gi choke and an ankle lock attempt. Gracie pulled guard again, but Yoshida turned it into a daki age and sought the Kimura lock; then, when the Brazilian blocked the technique, Yoshida passed his guard and performed a mounted sode guruma jime. After a moment of inactivity, the referee Daisuke Noguchi stopped the match in the belief Royce was unconscious and gave victory to Yoshida.
Gracie immediately protested, claiming he had not passed out and that the referee had no authority to stop the match. Footage of the fight was reviewed, and it was found that while Royce did get up right after the stoppage, his visible arm during the execution of the choke was limp and motionless. Later backstage, the Gracies demanded it be turned into a no contest, and an immediate rematch be booked (with different rules for the next time). If not, the Gracie family would pull themselves from PRIDE FC, and never fight for them again. PRIDE, wanting to keep the Gracie family with them, accepted their demands.
Afterward, Royce took Rickson's advice and started fighting without a gi so that his opponents could not stall by holding onto the gi. The grudge match between Yoshida and Gracie had rules more like the standard PRIDE MMA rules. This match took place at PRIDE's Shockwave 2003 event on December 31, 2003. Gracie dominated Yoshida by sweeping him and hitting ground and pound on a turtled up Hidehiko. However, as the match had no judge per Gracie's request, the official decision was a draw after two 10-minute rounds.
Fighting and Entertainment Group
In September 2004 Pride had a disagreement with Gracie about his participation in the 2005 Pride Middleweight Grand Prix. Gracie had issues with the proposed opponents and rules (Grand Prix fights must have a winner and cannot end in a draw). He jumped to Fighting and Entertainment Group's K-1 organization. Pride sued Gracie for breaching his contract with them. The case was settled in December 2005, with Gracie issuing a public apology, blaming his actions on a misinterpretation of the contract by his manager.
On December 31, 2004, Gracie entered the K-1 scene at the "Dynamite!" card inside the Osaka Dome, facing off against former sumo wrestler and MMA newcomer Akebono Tarō aka. Chad Rowan under special MMA rules (Two 10-minute rounds; the match would end as a draw if there was no winner after the two rounds). Gracie made quick work of his heavy opponent, forcing Akebono to submit to a shoulder lock at 2:13 of the first round. The match was refereed by renowned MMA ref John McCarthy.
Exactly one year later, on the "Dynamite!" card of December 31, 2005, Gracie fought Japan's Hideo Tokoro, a 143-pound fighter, in a fight ending in a draw after 20 minutes. Gracie's original opponent was scheduled to be the tall Korean fighter Choi Hong-man, another MMA newcomer.
Return to UFC
On January 16, 2006, UFC President Dana White announced that Royce Gracie would return to the UFC to fight UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes on May 27, 2006, at UFC 60. This was a non-title bout at a catchweight of 175 lb. under UFC/California State Athletic Commission rules. To prepare, Gracie cross-trained in Muay Thai and was frequently shown in publicity materials from Fairtex. In round one, Hughes hyperextended Gracie's arm in a straight armbar, but Gracie refused to tap and held on with a calm expression on his face.
Hughes has stated, in past interviews, that Gracie would have let his arm break rather than submit. Hughes went on to win the fight by TKO due to strikes at 4:39 of the first round.
Royce said later after the fight with Hughes that he wanted a rematch and that he wasn't surprised by Hughes' performance, "No, we knew what he was planning to do. We worked out his gameplan before the fight, and he did exactly what we expected. I over-trained for the fight. That was all. I started training too much, too hard, for too long. He did exactly what we expected."
Rematch with Sakuraba
Gracie defeated Sakuraba by a unanimous decision. The drug test revealed that Royce had traces of Nandrolone in his system. "Use of steroids is simply cheating," said Armando Garcia, California State Athletic Commission executive director. "It won't be tolerated in this state."
On June 14, 2007, the California State Athletic Commission declared that Gracie had tested positive for Nandrolone, an anabolic steroid, after his fight with Sakuraba. According to the California State Athletic Commission, the average person could produce about 2 ng/ml of Nandrolone, while an athlete following "rigorous physical exercise" could have a level of around 6 ng/ml. Both "A" and "B" test samples provided by Gracie "had a level of over 50 ng/ml and we were informed that the level itself was so elevated that it would not register on the laboratory's calibrator," said the CSAC. Gracie was fined $2,500 (the maximum penalty the Commission can impose) and suspended for the remainder of his license, which ended on May 30, 2008. Gracie paid the fine. The California State Athletic Commission's Bill Douglas told MMAWeekly, "Currently, our rules do not support overturning a decision based off the drug test results. However, Armando Garcia and I are meeting with the Attorney General next month to begin the process of modifying the existing laws to incorporate those rules for the future. Should everything move along like I anticipate, I would expect to see the changes in place by the end of the year."
Royce Gracie decided to dispute the allegations during an online video interview on May 2009, more than two years after the fact, saying that his weight in the first UFC event was 178 lb and claiming his weight during his Sakuraba fight was 180 lb, thus only gaining 2 pounds. This was widely disputed by experts as his weight was actually 188 lb for the Sakuraba fight. According to ESPN "Gracie is hardly possessed of an exaggerated physique, but he was clearly more sculpted for his June 2 fight with Kazushi Sakuraba than he was for a May 2006 match with Matt Hughes. In the former contest, he weighed in at 175 pounds; for Sakuraba, he was 188. One may not need to be nutritionist to observe that a muscle gain of 13 pounds in one year at the age of 40 is a strikingly accomplished feat. Athletes nearing the half-century mark are often happy to maintain functional mass, let alone pack it on".
On December 15, 2010, the UFC held a press conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil announcing an event August 27, 2011, at the HSBC Arena. During the press conference Royce stated: "This return of UFC to Brazil touched me, made me feel the wish of coming back to the Octagon. Everything is being negotiated with Dana White. Let's wait". On March 11, 2011, Royce Gracie's profile was added back to ufc.com active fighters list as a middleweight. His manager stated that they were actively negotiating with the UFC for a return to the Octagon and said it was just a matter of "getting it nailed down" and that there was plenty of time for it. On November 15, 2013, at UFC 167 on the 20th Anniversary of the UFC, Royce Gracie with MMA journalist Ariel Helwani confirmed he had retired from competing in mixed martial arts.
Return with Bellator MMA
At Bellator 145, it was announced that Gracie would return from retirement to face rival Ken Shamrock in a trilogy fight, taking place on February 19, 2016, at Bellator 149. Gracie won the fight in the first round after taking Shamrock down and ending the contest with hammerfists. The win was not without controversy, however, as replays showed that Gracie landed a knee strike to the groin of Shamrock prior to the finish. Shamrock protested the stoppage, however the bout was officially ruled a TKO victory for Gracie, the first of his MMA career.
Championships and accomplishments
Mixed martial arts
- Ultimate Fighting Championship
- UFC Hall of Fame (Inaugural inductee, part of the pioneer wing, class of 2003)
- UFC 1 Tournament Championship
- UFC 2 Tournament Championship
- UFC 4 Tournament Championship
- UFC Viewer's Choice Award
- First tournament champion in UFC history
- Longest fight in UFC history (36 minutes) - vs Ken Shamrock at (UFC 5)
- Most tournament wins in UFC history (Eleven)
- Most tournaments won in UFC history (Three)
- Most fights in a single night in UFC history (Four) - tied with (Patrick Smith)
- Pride Fighting Championships
- Fight Matrix
- Fighter of the Year (1993)
- Black Belt Magazine
- Competitor of the Year (1994)
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter
- Fight of the Year (2000) vs. Kazushi Sakuraba on May 1
- World MMA Awards
- 2013 Lifetime Achievement
- MMA Freak
Despite being a 7th degree coral belt, Gracie wears a dark blue belt when training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu paying homage to his father, Hélio Gracie, who primarily wore a dark blue belt despite being a red belt. He said he doesn’t want to be promoted by anybody else; his father died in 2009.
In popular culture
Disputes with other martial artists
Mixed martial arts record
|Professional record breakdown|
|20 matches||15 wins||2 losses|
|Win||15–2–3||Ken Shamrock||TKO (punches)||Bellator 149||February 19, 2016||1||2:22||Houston, Texas, United States||Light heavyweight bout.|
|Win||14–2–3||Kazushi Sakuraba||Decision (unanimous)||Dynamite!! USA||June 2, 2007||3||5:00||Los Angeles, California, United States||Gracie tested positive for anabolic steroids after match. The judges' decision was not overturned.|
|Loss||13–2–3||Matt Hughes||TKO (punches)||UFC 60||May 27, 2006||1||4:39||Los Angeles, California, United States||175 lb Catchweight bout.|
|Draw||13–1–3||Hideo Tokoro||Draw||K-1 PREMIUM 2005 Dynamite!!||December 31, 2005||2||10:00||Osaka, Osaka, Japan||Rules modified for no judges' decision.|
|Win||13–1–2||Akebono Taro||Submission (omoplata)||K-1 PREMIUM 2004 Dynamite!!||December 31, 2004||1||2:13||Osaka, Osaka, Japan|
|Draw||12–1–2||Hidehiko Yoshida||Draw||Pride Shockwave 2003||December 31, 2003||2||10:00||Saitama, Saitama, Japan||Rules modified for no referee stoppages and no judges' decision.|
|Loss||12–1–1||Kazushi Sakuraba||TKO (corner stoppage)||Pride Grand Prix 2000 Finals||May 1, 2000||6||15:00||Tokyo, Japan||2000 Openweight GP Quarterfinal; Rules modified for unlimited rounds and no referee stoppages; Fight of the Year.|
|Win||12–0–1||Nobuhiko Takada||Decision (unanimous)||Pride Grand Prix 2000 Opening Round||January 30, 2000||1||15:00||Tokyo, Japan|
|Draw||11–0–1||Ken Shamrock||Draw||UFC 5||April 7, 1995||1||36:00||Charlotte, North Carolina, United States||For the UFC Superfight Championship. Match was a draw due to lack of judges. Longest fight in UFC history.|
|Win||11–0||Dan Severn||Submission (triangle choke)||UFC 4||December 16, 1994||1||15:49||Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States||Won the UFC 4 Tournament. Became the first and only three time UFC Tournament Winner.|
|Win||10–0||Keith Hackney||Submission (armbar)||1||5:32||UFC 4 Tournament Semifinals.|
|Win||9–0||Ron van Clief||Submission (rear-naked choke)||1||3:59||UFC 4 Tournament Quarterfinals.|
|Win||8–0||Kimo Leopoldo||Submission (armbar)||UFC 3||September 9, 1994||1||4:40||Charlotte, North Carolina, United States||UFC 3 Tournament Quarterfinals. Gracie withdrew from tournament afterwards.|
|Win||7–0||Patrick Smith||Submission (punches)||UFC 2||March 11, 1994||1||1:17||Denver, Colorado, United States||Won the UFC 2 Tournament.|
|Win||6–0||Remco Pardoel||Submission (lapel choke)||1||1:31||UFC 2 Tournament Semifinals.|
|Win||5–0||Jason DeLucia||Submission (armbar)||1||1:07||UFC 2 Tournament Quarterfinals.|
|Win||4–0||Minoki Ichihara||Submission (lapel choke)||1||5:08||UFC 2 Tournament Opening Round.|
|Win||3–0||Gerard Gordeau||Submission (rear-naked choke)||UFC 1||November 12, 1993||1||1:44||Denver, Colorado, United States||Won the UFC 1 Tournament.|
|Win||2–0||Ken Shamrock||Submission (sleeve choke)||1||0:57||UFC 1 Tournament Semifinals.|
|Win||1–0||Art Jimmerson||Submission (position)||1||2:18||UFC 1 Tournament Quarterfinals.|
- Gracie family
- Rodrigo Gracie
- List of doping cases in sport
- List of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners
- "Royce Gracie Explains Why He Wears a Blue Belt instead of a Coral Belt". BJJEE.com.
- "UFC 167: Royce Gracie on UFC 1, Renzo Gracie's Criticism, More". YouTube. 2013-11-13. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
- "Nineteen years later, Royce Gracie reflects on UFC 1". MMA Fighting. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
- Correspondent (2010-07-19). "The 10 Most Influential Figures in MMA". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
- "Domain Does Not Exist • x10Hosting • Free Web Hosting with cPanel, PHP, and no forced ads". Ufcstats.x10hosting.com. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
- "Bjj Eastern Europe – UFC 2 Vet Remco Pardoel On Pioneering BJJ In Europe, Fighting In The First Mundials In The Black Belt Division & His Flourishing DJ Career". Bjjee.com. 2013-03-20. Retrieved 2014-06-04.
- "Today in MMA History: When Royce Gracie couldn't continue and all hell broke loose". mmajunkie.com.
- Snowden, Jonathan; Shields, Kendall (November 2010). The MMA Encyclopedia. ISBN 9781554908448.
- Blackbelt Magazine May 1995
- "Zuffa Creates "Hall of Fame" with Shamrock, Gracie Charters". Sherdog.com. 2003-11-05. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
- "How's Mike Tyson for a Big Name? (An Open-letter by Royce Gracie)". Black Belt. 32 (12): 15. December 1994.
- "What's the Matter, Tyson... Are You Chicken? (An Open-letter by Royce Gracie)". Black Belt. 34 (6): 16. June 1996.
- Pride: The Secret Files (in Japanese). Kamipro. 2008.
- Jonathan Snowden (2012). Shooters: The Toughest Men in Professional Wrestling. ECW Press. ISBN 978-17-709022-1-3.
- Rickson Gracie interview 2, Onthemat.com
- Keith Vargo, Courage and Controversy reign at Shockwave event, Black Belt Magazine, January 2003
- "Helio Gracie Royce Gracie Pedro Valente Interview 2002 GTR".
- "Royce Gracie Vs. Hidehiko Yoshida 2 part 3". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
- Fairtex.com Archived May 1, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
- "Fairtex.com". Sherdog.com. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
- Matt Hughes vs Royce Gracie – How the Battle of Champions Went Down – by Cliff Montgomery, ExtremeProSports.com
- "Royce Gracie Wants a Rematch with Matt Hughes". MMAWeekly.com. August 10, 2006. Retrieved 2011-07-24.
- "Royce Gracie Suspended, Fined For Steroids". Thesweetscience.com. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
- Gracie Opts Against Appealing – by Josh Gross. July 16, 2007
- Sporting News – Your expert source for MLB Baseball, NFL Football, NBA Basketball, NHL Hockey, NCAA Football, NCAA Basketball and Fantasy Sports scores, blogs, and articles
- "Royce Gracie Tests Positive for Steroids (Updated)". MMAWeekly.com. June 14, 2007. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
- "Video". The Daily Telegraph. London.
- "Gracie tests positive for off-the-chart measurements of steroids - MMA - ESPN". Sports.espn.go.com. 2007-07-17. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
- "Bellator books Royce Gracie vs. Ken Shamrock 3, 'Kimbo' vs. 'Dada 5000' for Houston - MMAjunkie". MMAjunkie.
- "UFC 45: Revolution". Fighttimes.com. 2003-11-21. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
- "FightMatrix MMA Awards". FightMatrix.com.
- https://web.archive.org/web/20101220174732/http://www.blackbeltmag.com/archives/719. Archived from the original on December 20, 2010. Retrieved December 20, 2010. Missing or empty
- "Browne, White, Gustafsson, Rousey winners at World MMA Awards VI". fightersonlymag.com. February 8, 2014.
- "About Royce". ROTCEGRACIE.tv. September 17, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2010.
- "Royce Gracie Explains Why He Wears a Blue Belt instead of a Coral Belt". BJJEE.com.
- "Royce Gracie: Rener & Ryron Are Misrepresenting Jiu Jitsu". MMA Latest News & Fights Videos l UFC Fighting Videos l Female MMA Champion. Archived from the original on 2014-10-25. Retrieved 2014-11-05.
- "Royce Gracie Says His Issue with Eddie Bravo is His Drug Use, Not His Jiu-Jitsu or Family Feud". mmaweekly.com.
- Gift, Paul (11 January 2016). "IRS goes after Royce Gracie claiming tax underpayment, fraud totaling $1.15 million". Bloody Elbow. SB Nation. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
- "Gracie tests positive for off-the-chart measurements of steroids". ESPN.com.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Royce Gracie.|
- Royce Gracie on IMDb
- Official website
- Professional MMA record for Royce Gracie from Sherdog
- Royce Gracie at UFC
|New championship|| UFC 1 Tournament winner
November 12, 1993
| UFC 2 Tournament winner
March 11, 1994
| UFC 4 Tournament winner
December 16, 1994