Royce Gracie is the Brazilian MMA expert, considered the legend of this 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 in size and weight. All credits are given 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, a co-founder of the Brazilian jujutsu. Being a dad of Rickson, Royce, Relson, and Rorion, Helio was a patriarch of the Gracies family. Royce cherished family traditions and mores. From the early age, he was engaged into studying of this art. Being a 16-year-old boy, he got a blue belt, his father rewarded him. In 17 he moved to American California. His older brother Rorion possessed a jujutsu school there.
Royce actively participated 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-colored belt.
Gracie’s Career in MMA
At the age of 27, Royce was already experienced in the fight at local nonprofessional tournaments with the successful result of 51 triumphs and 3 drubbings. He performed in the 1st professional tournament, held under the parasol of his brother & the American Art Davie (UFC cofounder). 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 achieved the victory, which brought Royce Gracie a significant recognition. He continued to show mind-boggling results, winning in the 2nd and 4th tournaments. He even prevailed in fight with such star of fighting as K. Leopoldo & K. Shamrock. After a long 36-minute battle with Shamrock in April 1995, Gracie announced about his intention to take a break for a while.
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 was defeated by the sportsman from Japan Kazushi Sakuraba (桜庭 和志) and took another break in his career. Sakuraba was in the 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 this tense battle Japanese 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 the Gracies family. For this practice he was christened “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 lost his awesome speed and pressure that the sportsman, 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).
The match was held 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 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, nandrolone substance was revealed in his blood. He was tested after the hard battle with K. Sakuraba. The sanctions were the fine in the sum of 2.5 thousand dollars and the suspension from 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 ng/ml, but in Gracie’s blood there were above 50 ng/ml. The quantity was so huge that the laboratory calibrator failed determine it exactly. The athlete was fined $2500 and banned for the remainder 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. 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 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 way. 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 develop 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.