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Royce Gracie still thinks he’s fighting at “UFC: Rio”

Receiving a surprise invite to the press conference announcing “UFC: Rio” must have really gotten Royce Gracie’s hopes up, because he’s still under the delusion that he’ll get a legacy fight on that card.  Since then, he keeps talking like he’s in negotiations with the UFC about it, despite the fact that the combined number of fans and Zuffa brass who seem the least bit interested in his “comeback” can be counted on one hand… of a retired sawmill worker… with leprosy.

His last Octagon appearance against then-welterweight champ Matt Hughes in 2006 is perhaps best described as a sad and brutal demonstration of how far the sport had evolved since the single-digit UFCs of Royce’s salad days, as “Country Breakfast” utterly destroyed Gracie in the first round without appearing to break much of a sweat.  Now consider the evolution we’ve seen just since 2006… the other champs at the time were Tim Sylvia, Chuck Liddell, and Rich Franklin, and the lightweight strap was on hiatus.  GSP won the belt later that year, Arianny was brand-spanking-new, Tito Ortiz was still (mostly) relevant, and Jon Jones probably hadn’t even seen the inside of an MMA gym yet.  The idea of putting Royce in the cage with anyone even remotely relevant to today’s UFC (or even the sport in general) sounds like a death sentence, especially since he’s now 44 and hasn’t fought in four years.

But I guess old dreams die hard, because CagePotato reports that Royce has canceled a European seminar tour in order to focus on training for the Rio event in August, though even his manager admits: “Nothing is locked down, no.”  That’s apparently not stopping them from tearing up a guaranteed paycheck in favour of chasing a pipe-dream though.

So what’s the Baldfather got so say about this?  Well coincidentally, I happened to catch the last minute or two of “MMA Connected” just prior to the “Fight Night 24″ broadcast on Rogers Sportsnet, in which Dana White was straight-up asked about it (among other things, like Strikeforce, teammate fights, unions, Sonnen/Bisping, GSP/Silva, and UFC 129).  It’s at 2:14 of the video above, but if you sneeze you might miss it, because his entire answer was: “I don’t think so.”  In print, that doesn’t sound definitive one way or the other, but something about his demeanor tells me that he could give a shit if Royce even shows up to watch.

  • scissors61

    put him against renzo in a grappling exhibition or something…that’s the only remotely sensible thing i can see happening here. and even that would be a little bizarre for the UFC. 


  • Letibleu

    To be honest, the very first fight I ever saw live on PPV is Royce Gracie vs Dan Severn @ UFC 004 and it would be cool to watch these old farts lock up after all these years.

    Dan is still fighting and is very active with a current tomato can record of 20 wins in his last 20 fights with 9 straight wins.

    I would like to see these two (especially Dan Severn) maybe get a bit of the taste of the cheddar they helped create (give them a thank you pay). It is the single and only match I would like to see grandpa Gracie in. I would totally go for that.

    Unfortunately it wont happen since Dan is now 52 years young and weighs in at around 250Lbs. Even if Brazil’s sanctioning body would allow it, might be too freaky of a fight for the UFC brass to even consider. One can only fathom.

  • Symbul

    Royce would be a waste of prime card space. His name is too big for what the UFC can afford to give him. There are about 30 top 10 ranked Brazilians dying to fight on that card.

  • Jim Harbaugh Scramble

    I’d have no problem with him on the facebook prelims or spike prelims. Fuck no to him being on the main card.

    Not sure who in the hell he would fight though. The worst 170er I can think of on the roster is Renzo, and that fight won’t happen.

    Is Mike Swick ever gonna fight again? Have him fight Gracie for the hell of it.

  • DJ ThunderElbows

    Leti, that’s a seriously dope idea. What about a grappling match? A special cage grappling match between them? Throw it on FaceBook or something.

  • scissors61

     A special cage grappling match between them? 

    that’s kinda what their first was to be honest, ha ha 

  • Reverend Clint

    have him grapple bj

  • Mixed Martial Adam

    Again, I’m up for Royce making an appearance at the event and maybe even having a little video presentation and an in-cage moment. But to take a slot away from an active Brazilian fighter is just ludicrous.

    Royce is not an active fighter anymore and has not done a thing in the last 10 years to merit an octagon return at 44 years of age

  • Mixed Martial Adam

    …and if it’s a special rules grappling match have a fan expo and do it there. You can’t have a special rules fight in the middle of a card. It takes the legitimacy out of the event

  • scissors61

    agreed on both points with mmadam 


  • Rodriguez

    If they put Royce in the main event of the Spike prelim special against Sakuraba….

  • glassjawsh

    ^ yes please

  • Reverend Clint

    can saku fly?

  • Letibleu

    I heard Saku was one of the dudes trying to stop the nuclear leaks at the core itself. The Japanese scientists are also hoping he could gain valuable super powers that would rejuvenate his fighting career and save Japanese MMA.


  • frickshun

    Leti–>I’m no mathemagician but how can you win 20 of your last 20 w/only 9 straight wins? Just sayins all.

  • CAP

    Leti I was thinking the same damn thing with Royce/Severn then reality shut it down, damn weight classes. Severn is also close to winning his 100th bout, he’s two wins away. How cool would that match be with Severn poised for his 100th win against Royce Gracie. It’s just too good.