Royce Gracie is a Brazilian MMA expert, considered the legend of the sphere, one of the most important personalities in this sport. He spared no effort in accomplishing his goals and is included into the UFC Hall of Fame. The sportsman became famous for defeating other fighters, who were much larger and had greater weight. They give all credits to him for popularizing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) worldwide.
Childhood and Youth of Royce Gracie
Royce Gracie is from the varicolored carnival Brazilian city, Rio, where he was born in 1966. His father, Helio Gracie, was a well-known MMA master and a co-founder of the Brazilian jujutsu. Being a dad of Rickson, Royce, Relson, and Rorion, Helio was a patriarch of the family. Royce cherished family traditions and more. From an early age, he was engaged in the art’s study. At 16, his father rewarded him for achieving a blue belt. At 17, he moved to California in the USA. His older brother Rorion possessed a jujutsu school there.
Royce actively took part in tournaments organized by Rorion and other panjandrums from this clan. It was a period when the young connoisseurs of this field desired to challenge local fighters, who were much stronger, aiming to popularize the art, created by their family. At 18, Royce received a respectable award, a black belt.
Gracie’s Career in MMA
At 27, Royce was already an experienced fighter at local nonprofessional tournaments with the successful result of 51 triumphs and 3 drubbings. He performed in his 1st professional tournament, held under the parasol of his brother and the American Art Davie (UFC co-founder). The championship gradually turned into the UFC, which is the largest MMA organization in the world. In three intensive battles against professional boxers, wrestlers and kickboxers, he won, which brought Royce Gracie significant recognition. He continued to show mind-boggling results, winning in the 2nd and 4th tournaments. He even prevailed in a fight with star fighters K. Leopoldo and K. Shamrock. After a long 36-minute battle with Shamrock in April 1995, Gracie announced that he intended to take a break.
The formidable sportsman returned to professional sport in early 2000, performing in the Grand Prix of the PRIDE Championship. At the competition’s end, the sportsman from Japan Kazushi Sakuraba (桜庭 和志) defeated Royce. Again, he took another break in his career. Sakuraba was in excellent shape, which allowed him to constantly control Gracie and not let him prevail. His wrestling skills neutralized Royce’s ability to quickly win by overturning the enemy to the ground. The kimono Gracie wore for the fight, only contributed to Kazushi’s winning, because the cloth was inconvenient. Sakuraba also controlled all the falls and minimized their occurrence. The fight lasted 90 minutes and during the tense battle, the Japanese fighter doggedly kicked the rival’s legs. Royce could hardly stay on his feet since the opponent broke his hip by constant blows. The following years, Sakuraba fought with other representatives of Gracie’s family. For this practice, they christened him “Gracie Hunter”.
During 2003-2005, there was a row of competitions, in which Gracie participated. In the K-1 and PRIDE Championships, he gained two draws in fights with the wrestlers from Japan and secured a victory over the Hawaiian behemoth Akebono Taro (Chadwick Haheo Rowan). Royce had lost his awesome speed and pressure which he showed at the start of his career. The MMA community started to talk about the dusk of his career. Despite that, Gracie wanted to show his best in another fight. He had a great desire to emphasize his greatness in MMA in the fight against Matt Hughes (this rival became the worldwide champion in welterweight under the UFC version two times).
I held the match on May 27, 2006, within the framework of K-1 HERO’s – Dynamite!! This event became one of the most expected and authoritative in the sport of that period. It was widely advertised and attracted the attention of thousands of onlookers. “Caxinguele” received 400,000 US greenbacks for fighting there. But it wasn’t a triumphant exultant for him, he lost in the positional struggle in the 1st round. He sustained Hughes’ submission lock but made awful missteps when maneuvering in the stalls.
Due to his indomitable spirit, waggish nature and aptitude to run people mad, the athlete earned “Caxinguele” nickname, which means “squirrel” in Portuguese.
Royce Gracie and Steroids: 2007 Doping Scandal
On June 14, 2007, they revealed nandrolone substance in his blood. They tested him after the hard battle with K. Sakuraba. The sanctions were a fine in the sum of 2.5 thousand dollars and a complete suspension from the fights until 2008. The commissioners from CSAC (anti-doping body in California) say that 2ng of nandrolone per 1 ml of blood is an adequate amount of the substance in the human body. Elevated physical exertion may increase the level to 6 mg/ml, but in Gracie’s blood, there were above 50 ng/ml. The quantity was so huge that the laboratory calibrator failed to determine it exactly. The athlete was fined $2500 and banned for the rest of his license. The decision in the Sakuraba battle wasn’t overturned, because, as a commissioner Bill Douglas told MMAWeekly, rules did not support such an overturning.
Nandrolone is a powerful anabolic medication. Nandrolone, released in the form of decanoate, is one of the most popular anabolics worldwide. We also know it as Deca-Durabolin. Deca can be classified as traditional anabolic medicine. It has been in use from the last century to the present. Nandrolone was originally released for quickened recovery after injuries or surgeries. Over time, the anabolic action could not go unnoticed by athletes, and today nandrolone decanoate is illegally used in bodybuilding and other sports (read more on steroids in MMA and UFC steroids).
Royce Gracie denied his linkage with steroids in 2009. He claimed that his weight didn’t change during all his professional career. Only 2 kg were gained. The ESPN channel noted that Gracie put on 13 pounds for one year (2006-2007), between the fight with Matt Hughes and Sakuraba.
Royce’s Return to Octagon
Royce reappeared on February 19, 2016, and impressed the fans with great results. In 2 minutes 22 seconds, he knocked out longtime opponent Shamrock at the tournament held in Houston (Texas). The referee fixed a TKO (technical knockout). Although, “Caxinguele” doesn’t live for MMA career only. He is the father of a large family. He has many aptitudes and develops them in his free time. The MMA adherers highly appreciated his appearance in the music video for the song “Attitude” created by “Sepultura” (Brazilian rockers from Belo Horizonte — Paulo Jr., Andreas Kisser, Derrick Green, and Eloy Casagrande), and his role in the film “The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power” where he performed with Victor Webster, Ellen Hollman, Lou Ferrigno, Rutger Hauer, and Ian Whyte. He also appeared in the movie “Vale Todo” by Ecuadorian producer Roberto Estrella. Who knows, maybe he will appear in films of the near futurity.