Considered by many Brazilian Jiu Jitsu figures such as Ricardo Arona, Demian Maia, Paulo Filho and many others as the Greatest BJJ practitioner of all time, Rickson Gracie is also the son of Master Helio Gracie. Through several Vale-Tudo (No Holds Barred) fights in his native Brazil and in Japan during the 1980s and 1990s decades, Rickson Gracie helped put his family trade (Gracie Jiu Jitsu/BJJ) on the map as a legitimate and well known fighting style. Rickson Gracie also became a star in the MMA community after the release of the fantastic documentary: Choke.
Rickson Gracie Jiu Jitsu
Full Name: Rickson Gracie
Nickname: “Urso”/Bear, though this is not used, Pedro Sauer (a Rickson Gracie black belt) stated on more then one occasion that Rickson’s father, Helio Gracie, used to call him the bear when training due to his strength and overwhelming fighting style.
Main Achievements (BJJ/ MMA/ Grappling):
- Unbeaten in BJJ Competition
- Unbeaten in MMA 11-0
Common myth is that Rickson’s record is of 400-0.That is including all competitions (BJJ, Judo, Sambo and MMA and closed doors No-Holds-Barred fights – common of the early 80’s Jiu Jitsu era in Brazil) in which he was involved. However that record can be disputed since there is at least one loss recorded in sport Sambo (by points – throw) against Ron Tripp.
Favourite Position/Technique: Good overall game
Weight Division: Peso Medio (82kg-181lbs)
Association/Team: Gracie Jiu Jitsu
Rickson Gracie Biography
Rickson Gracie was born in November 20, 1958 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Rickson is one of the 9 sons of Jiu Jitsu Grandmaster Helio Gracie (in order: Rorion, Relson, Rickson, Rolker, Royler, Royce, Rerika, Robin, Ricci), spending most of his youth on the mats. Seeing Rickson’s potential from an early age, Helio prepared his son and raised him to be the next family representative in the fighting world, following his predecessors paths, people like his father, his cousin Carlson (the family representative in the 1950′s and 1960′s) and his other cousin Rolls (in the 1970′s). Always considering himself of being a Gracie Jiu Jitsu practitioner and not a Vale-Tudo/MMA fighter, he took pride on the fact that he did not cross train in other martial arts in order to compete against the best.
In 1980 Waldemar Santana, the man who had defeated Rickson’s father – Helio Gracie – on an historic no holds barred event, and with whom he later regained contact with, asked if the Gracie’s had anyone in their class that could challenge Rei Zulu (Santana’s student). Zulu was a huge fighter with incredible athletic ability and was undefeated in his NHB record. No one else wanted to fight him in Brazil and Waldemar who was Zulu’s promoter and instructor was finding it very hard to find matches for his fighter.
Rolls Gracie, the family’s star stud jumped on the occasion of fighting Zulu, but Helio had other plans, his own son. Rickson was 18 years old at the time and weighed around 20kg less then Zulu, but he accepted his dad’s decision and fought. The fight was in Brasilia under Rei Zulu’s home crowd and Rickson didn’t feel 100%. Carlos Gracie, a firm believer in spiritualism and Aura, asked Rickson not to fight as he didn’t feel this was his fight to win. But staying truthful to his father he did not quit and went along with it. The fight was long and hard, but Rickson finished it with a Mata Leao (RNC). Rickson later said he felt dizzy the whole fight, dizziness which was attributed to the change of air in Brasilia (much dryer then the Rio de Janeiro air he was used to).
Rickson’s second fight was four years later and again against Rei Zulu (Zulu King), Rickson had no quarrel with “Zulu” but after some harsh words from the man of Brasilia the fight was agreed, this time at the Maracanãzinho, a venue that held up to 40,000 seats (which filled up completely for the fight). The battle was a tremendous war and again Rickson was victorious by choke.
In 1994 Rickson was invited to compete in Japan, seeing an excellent way to promote his family’s legacy outside Brazil he accepted. The 8 men tournament was named “Vale Tudo Japan 1994″ and Rickson Gracie was a success, submitting all of his opponents in one night. He continued making a career of fighting in Japan winning several more fights (all by submission) and keeping his record unblemished. Rickson Gracie’s last fight was meant to be against the man who had defeated every Gracie family member he had battled, Kasushi Sakuraba was his name but he was also known as “The Gracie Hunter”. Rickson agreed to fight against Sakuraba but tragedy struck the Gracie clan as Rickson’s own son, Rockson Gracie, passed away due to drug use. Rickson was devastated after this and stopped training all together for an extended period. He never competed again, but he restarted training and teaching, especially to carry on the family tradition and make his other son, Kron a Gracie super star in the grappling world (mission accomplished).
Rickson Gracie vs Peixotinho
Rickson Gracie vs Rigan Machado
Rickson v Zulu 2nd Fight
This post is also available in: Portuguese (Brazil)