The professional mixed martial artist and three-time UFC Tournament Champion, Royce Gracie, is originally from Brazil. He is a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu practitioner from the renowned Gracie family of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Royce Gracie is one of the most recognizable faces in mixed martial arts (MMA). He became famous as an MMA fighter in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), winning UFC 1, UFC 2, and UFC 4.
In November 2003, Gracie was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame on the 10th Anniversary of the UFC.
The UFC Hall of Famer paved the way for the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu style in MMA by contributing towards hand-to-hand combat like grappling and ground fighting.
Continue reading the article to find out more about Royce Gracie and how he became one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time!
Quick Facts: Royce Gracie
|Date of Birth
|December 12, 1966
|Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
|Los Angeles, California
|6 ft (1.83 m)
|80 kg (176 lb)
|Rickson, Rorion, Relson, Royler, Rolker, Robin, Rerika, and Ricci
|Khonry, Kheydon, Khor, and Kharianna
|Former MMA Fighter
|Signed UFC Belt, Signed UFC Glove
Royce Gracie: Early Life and Family
On December 12, 1966, Royce Gracie was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to Vera and Hélio Gracie. He has six brothers and two sisters.
His father, Hélio, had three sons (Rickson, Rorion, and Relson) from his previous relationship with Isabel Soares. After marrying Vera, he became the father of four more sons (Royler, Rolker, Royce, Robin) and two daughters (Rerika and Ricci).
Royce started training in Jiu-Jitsu at a young age with his father, Hélio, a martial artist. Hélio Gracie was one of the founders of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, popularly known as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Royce was only 8 years old when he started participating in tournaments. At 16, he already had a blue belt, and his black belt came less than two years later.
When he turned 18, he moved to the United States to live with his older brother Rorion. The two brothers gave private Jiu-Jitsu lessons in their garage. After a while, they established the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Torrance, California.
During Jiu-Jitsu training, Royce Gracie continues to wear a dark blue belt to this day to show respect to his late father. Gracie is a 7th-degree coral belt, but he disliked the idea of being promoted to a higher rank by someone other than Hélio.
Royce Gracie: Career
UFC 1 and UFC 2
On November 12, 1993, UFC’s first mixed martial arts event was held at McNichols Sports Arena in Denver, Colorado.
Royce Gracie won his first UFC match against retired boxer Art Jimmerson. Gracie tackled Jimmerson to the ground and pinned the boxer’s left arm around his neck, forcing him to submission.
Similarly, he defeated one of his biggest rivals, Ken Shamrock, in the semi-finals. Gracie went on to win the tournament by defeating retired mixed martial artist Gerard Gordeau. He used a rear choke on Gordeau after throwing him to the ground.
The next UFC event was held on March 11, 1994, at Mammoths Garden in Denver, Colorado.
Royce Gracie continued his winning streak by defeating Japanese fighter Minoki Ichihara in the first round. Then, Gracie won the quarter-finals against retired MMA fighter Jason DeLucia by submission.
Gracie secured a win against Taekwondo and Judo player Remco Pardoel in the semi-finals. After that, he won the final match against Patrick Smith by submission and became the UFC Champion for the second time.
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UFC 3 and UFC 4
The third UFC event was held on September 9, 1994, at Grady Cole Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Royce Gracie started strong by winning the opening round against Kimo Leopoldo, but he could not continue with the tournament due to his degrading physical health. So during the next round, he walked into the ring and threw in the towel.
A UFC match can only end by submission, knockout, and throwing in the towel, so it was apparent that Gracie was too exhausted to fight.
On December 16, 1994, UFC 4: Revenge of the Warriors took place at the Expo Center Pavilion in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Royce Gracie won the first round by defeating Ron van Clief with a rear choke.
Gracie defeated Keith Hackney in the semi-finals by submission. Then, he submitted professional wrestler Dan Severn in the final round with a triangle choke, winning the UFC event.
The fifth event, UFC 5: Return of the Beast, was held on April 7, 1995, at the Independence Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina.
UFC 5 garnered much attention because of the final fight between rivals Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock. Their match lasted 36 minutes and ended with a draw because of the re-introduced time limit that year.
As a result, the event caused a lot of controversies since many people were unsatisfied with the draw. They believed the result would have been different if a judge had come up with a conclusion or there was no time limit.
Royce Gracie left the UFC after the fight.
PRIDE and Return to UFC
In 1998, Royce Gracie planned to make his PRIDE Fighting Championships debut in their PRIDE 2 event, but he had to withdraw because of a back injury. After that, he competed in the 2000 PRIDE event against pro wrestler Kazushi Sakuraba.
Gracie’s no time-limit rule worked against his favor, and Sakuraba won the 90-minute long match by TKO. Gracie received multiple low kicks during the fight, and he had a broken femur by the end of it.
In the 2002 PRIDE event, judo player Hidehiko Yoshida defeated Gracie with a chokehold in a mounted position. The referee declared Yoshida as the winner, believing Royce to be unconscious.
But Gracie was not satisfied with the outcome, and he claimed that he did not pass out during the fight. He wanted a rematch with a new set of rules, which PRIDE accepted since they did not want to let go of the Gracie family.
The rematch was held on December 31, 2003, at PRIDE’s Shockwave event. But it did not go according to Gracie’s expectations, as the fight ended with a draw because of the no judge rule.
On May 27, 2006, Royce Gracie returned to the UFC and fought against two-time UFC Welterweight Champion Matt Hughes. However, he lost the match to Hughes by TKO due to strikes during the first round.
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Steroids Scandal and Retirement
Royce Gracie competed against Kazushi Sakuraba once again at the K-1 Dynamite!! USA event on May 8, 2007.
Gracie won the fight unanimously, but a drug screening after the fight showed traces of an anabolic steroid called Nandrolone in his system. As a result, he paid a $2500 fine to the California State Athletic Commission, and he was suspended until his license expired.
Royce Gracie shared the news of his retirement on November 15, 2013, at the UFC 167 event on the occasion of UFC’s 20th Anniversary. In addition, he was honored with the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award by the World MMA Awards.
Royce Gracie has recorded the most tournament wins (eleven) in UFC history. As of 2021, he is the only MMA fighter to win three UFC tournaments.
Royce Gracie: Marriage and Kids
In 1994, Royce Gracie married Dr. Marianne Cuttic, a podiatrist based in Los Angeles. After more than two decades of marriage, Gracie filed for a divorce in 2016.
He requested spousal support from his wife and wanted her to pay for his attorney’s fees. In addition, he demanded legal custody of his children.
On September 5, 2019, Gracie filed to dismiss the divorce petition, and the court accepted his request. Therefore, Gracie and Cuttic are still legally married, but it is unclear whether or not they still live together.
The estranged couple has four kids together. They have three sons (Khonry, Kheydon, Khor) and a daughter (Kharianna).
Gracie and Cuttic were sent a Notice of Deficiency by Internal Revenue Service (IRS) stating that they owed more than $650k in back taxes. They were also expected to pay $492k in penalties for Civil Fraud.
Royce Gracie: Net Worth
In 2014, Sports Illustrated named Royce Gracie among the 50 Greatest Athletes in the world. During his UFC career, Gracie made more than $170k in tournament prize money.
he has an estimated net worth of $5 million.
Although Royce has retired as a competitive mixed martial artist, he still works as a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu practitioner. In addition, he maintains his connection with more than 55 Royce Gracie Jiu-Jitsu networks globally.
Royce Gracie: Social Media
You can find Royce Gracie on different social media platforms if you’re interested in keeping up with his everyday life.
What training regimen does Royce Gracie follow?
Gracie follows a strict training routine, including weight training, cross-training, running, and meditation. Moreover, he practices Gracie Jiu-Jitsu for many hours as he physically can.
Royce Gracie has a trainer, James Strom, who helps him with his training regimen. One time, Gracie and Strom went on a 40 mile run together.
Who is Khonry Gracie?
Khonry Gracie is a professional MMA fighter who previously competed in the Bellator MMA events. As the oldest son of Royce Gracie, he uses the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu style during MMA fights to follow in his father’s footsteps.