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Rickson Gracie a Brazilian retired mixed martial artist was born on November 21, 1958. He holds the 9th-degree red belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu He is a part of the Gracie family which are popular, oldest and prominent martial arts family hailing from Brazil.
They are well known for their development of Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ). Rickson is the third oldest son of Helio Gracie. He became a part of the MMA legends Hall of Fame in November 2014, alongside Big John McCarthy, Pat Miletich, and Fedor Emelianenko.
He achieved the highest ranking in Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) in July 2017.
At the young age of just 18, Rickson Gracie had a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu in his name. At just 20 years of age, he won his first victory against the world-famous 230-pound Brazilian brawler Casemiro Nascimento Martins which changed his life completely as he became a renowned wrestler. Five years later Casemiro wanted a rematch in which he lost again to Rickson Gracie in Maracanazinho before an audience of 20,000 spectators.
Gracie slapped famous Luta livre exponent Hugo Duarte on Rio de Janeiro beach in front of his students and tempted him to fight on the beach while Duarte wanted to fight only in an event, so Hugo stepped down and fought on the sand. Gracie won the fight by throwing punches on his face.
Shortly after the fight it came to notice that Gracie’s students kicked Hugo and threw sand on his face during the fight. Hugo challenged Gracie for a rematch which he lost again. This angered Hugo which led to a huge riot forcing neighbors to call in the police for help.
The arch-rivals, BJJ and Luta livre’s rivalry continued even after Rickson left Brazil for the United States after the fight.
Vale Tudo Japan
In 1994, Erik Paulson wanted Rickson to compete in Satoru Sayama’s event Vale Tudo Japan. He traveled to Japan and participated in the tournament, firstly facing Daido-juku stylist Yoshinori Nishi.
Gracie fought well and took him down although he wasn’t that easy to fight with the Brazilian managed to knock him down. He then faced Wing Chun practitioner Dave Levicki, who was an easier opponent once taken down and Rickson easily won the fight by just a few punches.
Gracie then fought American kickboxer Bud Smith at the finals which were also an easy win for him. The same year, pro wrestler Yoji Anjo challenged Rickson through dojo storm which is the act of visiting a rival martial arts school in order to challenge its members.
The competition was tough as they both fought extremely well. Gracie tried all his techniques to knock Anjo down but when he couldn’t win, he decided to choke him down unconscious.
A year later, Gracie was invited for another Vale Tudo Japan tournament. He faced pro wrestler Yoshihisa Yamamoto from Fighting Network Rings in the first round who was a very good competitor as compared to his previous opponents.
He managed to keep Gracie away from the mat by using ropes and also tried guillotine choke. However, Gracie didn’t give up and managed to choke him down. Later, he achieved victory while facing another wrestler Koichiro Kimura in another format.
As expected he reached the finals and faced shoot wrestler Yuki Nakai who was already suffering from a bad eye accident from his previous match against Gerard Gordeau.
Although he fought well against Rickson, the Brazilian fighter managed to choke his back and grabbed another tournament victory in a row.
Gracie signed up to a fight against Yoji Anjo’s superior Nobuhiko Takada in the Pride 1 event in 1997 in front of 47,680 spectators. Rickson defeated the inexperienced Takada in just 4:47 minutes.
Immediately after the event, Gracie got an invitation from Fighting Network Rings chairman Akira Maeda but he did not answer. Since he gained popularity in Japan because of various tournaments there, he let down quite a few fights.
There was a fight scheduled between Royce Gracie and Mark Kerr but it got cancelled. Later on, the PRIDE team reached out to Rickson Gracie to fight in place of Royce but he refused, citing one month is not enough to prepare for the fight.
Rickson signed up for a rematch against Takada at PRIDE 4 stating “I feel Takada is a warrior and deserves the chance to try and redeem himself.”
In the rematch, Takada fought back well and had improved but not reached the level of Rickson. The Brazilian master used a leg lock attempt to knock him down but it turned out to be a failure as Takada kept fighting under Rickson dismounting and threatening him with heel hook attempt but Gracie did not give up, he applied an armbar and won the fight again.
Rickson appeared as a special guest in Japanese media in August 2002 giving assistance to Ogawa against Matt Ghaffari at the UFO Legend event After the event, Ogawa and Rickson had a talk about their fight earlier which gave a hint of a rematch in the near future.
Rickson also mentioned Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira and Kazuyuki Fujitato to fight him back, but there was no fight scheduled even after UFO President Tatsuo Kawamura proposed creating an event in order to hold the match.
In 2003, Antonio Inoki offered Rickson USD$5 million to fight against Fujita but he denied it.
Gracie Rickson has not confirmed that he has retired from BJJ and he now wishes to just give seminars on Jiu-Jitsu and promote it just as his father had dreamt of.
He wants to promote BJJ not as a fighting tool but as a social tool teaching children, women and weak students to fight back against physical abuse by teaching ways and techniques to defend them.
On July 21, 2014, Gracie appeared on the show; The Joe Rogan Experience (Episode #524) podcast hosted by Joe Rogan.
Rickson Gracie is known to be a very controversial fighter and from the start of his career. Gracie raised the ire of many MMA fighters by criticizing and insulting top fighters.