Royce Gracie is the Brazilian MMA expert, the legend of this sport, one of the most important personalities in mixed martial arts, a representative of the UFC Hall of Fame. The sportsman became famous for defeating other fighters, who were much larger in size and weight than himself. Most importantly, his credit is that he was able to popularize Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu worldwide.
Childhood and youth of Royce Gracie
Royce Gracie was born on December 12, 1966 in Rio, Brazil, in the well-known family of 53-year-old master of MMA Elio Gracie, co-founder of the Brazilian jujutsu. Following family traditions, Royce’s childhood was attached to the study of this martial art. At the age of 16 he received a blue belt from his father’s hands, and a year later he went to America, California, where his older brother Rorion had a jujutsu school.
In his youth Royce took part in tournaments held by Rorion and other people from the clan. At that time, the young connoisseurs of jujutsu tried to challenge the strongest local fighters, trying to popularize the art of their family. At 18, the sportsman was awarded with a black-colored belt.
Royce Gracie’s career in MMA
At the age of 27, Royce was already experienced in the fight arts at local amateur tournaments (51 wins, 3 defeats). He took part in the 1st professional tournament organized by his brother Rorion & the American Art Davie. The tournament, which eventually turned into the world’s largest organization of mixed martial arts, called the UFC. The victory in this tournament, gained in three heavy battles with masters of boxing, wrestling and kickboxing, gave Royce Gracie world recognition. He continued his successful promotion with victories in the second and fourth tournaments, as well as fights with such famous fighters as K. Leopoldo & K. Shamrock. After a long 36-minute battle with Shamrock in April 1995, Gracie took a long break.
The sportsman returned to professional sport in early 2000, participating in the Grand Prix of the PRIDE Championship. At the final stage of the competition, the sportsman was defeated by the Japanese sportsman Kazushi Sakuraba and took another break in his career. Sakuraba, being in the best shape, constantly kept Gracie under control throughout the fight. His wrestling skills leveled Royce’s ability to quickly win by overturning the enemy to the ground. The kimono in which Gracie performed, only helped Kazushi when it came to falling to the ground. In addition, Sakuraba controlled the falls so that they became increasingly rare. After 90 minutes of fight, during which the Japanese actively kicked his rival’s legs, Royce Gracie’s brother threw a towel. By that time Royce could not stand on his feet, his hip was broken by constant blows. Over the next years, Sakuraba repeatedly opposed other members of the Gracies family, for which he received the nickname “Gracies Hunter”.
During 2003-2005, Gracie participates in three competitions, in the K-1 and PRIDE Championships, having gained two draws in fights with the Japanese wrestlers and a victory over the Hawaiian giant Akebono Taro. The speed and pressure that the sportsman demonstrated at the beginning of his professional career had already disappeared, and MMA supporters began to talk about the finish of the Brazilian star’s fame. Despite that, Gracie insisted on another fight, which should emphasize the greatness of the athlete in MMA – a fight against Matt Hughes, the two-time worldwide champion in welterweight under the UFC version
The fight took place on May 27, 2006 within the framework of the 60th stage of the UFC & became one of the most important events of the sports world of that period. Widely advertised, the event attracted the attention of about 15,000 spectators. For participation in the battle, the sportsman received 400,000 US dollars. But he lost that fight in the 1st round. Having lost in the positional struggle, having sustained Hughes’ submission lock, Gracie made mistakes when maneuvering in the stalls. As result, he was defeated by the young champion’s blows.
On June 14, 2007, he was caught using nandrolone anabolic medication after his hard fight with K. Sakuraba and fined 2.5 thousand dollars. He was also suspended from fights until the end of his license (2008). According to the CSAC (anti-doping body in California), 2ng of nandrolone per 1 ml of blood is produced in the human body. Increased physical exertion may lead to 6 ng/ml, but in Gracie’s body it was found more than 50 ng/ml, i.e. it was so high that the laboratory calibrator was not able to determine the exact amount.
Nandrolone is a powerful anabolic medicament. Nandrolone, released in the form of decanoate, is one of the most popular anabolics worldwide. It is also known 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 rapid 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 did not recognize his use of steroids. According to him, his weight remained the same from the beginning of his participation in MMA fightings in the early 90’s and until the test in 2007. He gained only 2 kg during all this time. According to the ESPN channel, Gracie added 13 pounds of weight for one year (2006-2007), between the fight with Matt Hughes and Sakuraba.
Royce’s return to the octagon
Royce reappeared on February 19, 2016 and showed great results. In 2 minutes 22 seconds the Brazilian master defeated longtime rival Ken Shamrock at the tournament held in Houston (USA). The referee recorded a technical knockout (knee kick and finishing off). Although, as they say, Royce does not live by MMA fighting only. After all, he is the father of a large family. In his free time, Gracie shows other talents. MMA fans appreciated his participation in the video for the song “Attitude”, performed by the Brazilian rock group “Sepultura”, and his role in the film “The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power”.