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wandshogun09

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The thing with Rickson also though, was age. He was already 42 years old when he retired in 2000. So fights with young Frank and Wandy probably weren’t realistic. From stuff I’ve read over the years, Rickson had been taking part in submission matches and full-on fights in gyms and probably on fucking beaches and in secret underground Bloodsport-like locations since the 80s. He predates the era of the term Mixed Martial Arts and even No Holds Barred as we came to know them, and certainly predates those things being televised. I think that’s why some think he was a myth. A lot of what would have been Rickson’s prime fighting years weren’t televised so it’s harder to trace and verify. But there’s been enough said and written over the last 20-odd years, by people whose opinion you’d respect, to make me think Rickson was legit. There was definitely a big heated rivalry in Brazil between the BJJ lot and the Luta Livre lot which spawned many a fight before MMA was a thing. And Rickson would’ve been front and centre of that, as was Marco Ruas and others on the Luta Livre side. 

By the time Rickson fought at Pride 1 he was pushing 40. It’s unrealistic to have expected him to fight much longer. Certainly not into the Fedor/Cro Cop era. Him talking about beating those guys was just his way of keeping his name out there, I guess. MMA just came along slightly too late for him really. Sadly, we never did see the best Rickson Gracie. Choke’s a fascinating documentary and gives some insight but it’s not the same as if we’d got him in his late 20s-early 30s when the UFC and Pride were kicking off. If the UFC started in 1983 istead of 1993, who knows what Rickson’s legacy would be now. 

Rickson vs Sakuraba was the one that should’ve happened. But I get why it didn’t. The best time for that fight would’ve been 2001. After Saku had gone through Royler, Royce, Renzo and Ryan. Rickson coming in then like the last and most difficult boss on the video game that Sakuraba had to try to beat would’ve been incredible. I don’t know if there were any talks or negotiations behind the scenes but the timing was a bit dodgy anyway as Rickson wasn’t with Pride by then and had retired the year before. For the right price I’m sure he’d have been coaxed back but a 42/43 year old Rickson vs a 31/32 Sakuraba in 2001 wouldn’t have been ideal. Bas Rutten also announced at Pride 3 that he wanted to fight Rickson in Pride after his UFC contract finished but it never happened. 

Oh and Conor McGregor stole Rickson’s moves;

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Edited by wandshogun09

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7 minutes ago, jimufctna24 said:

Rickson was listed at 185lbs. So I presume he would have eventually fought the likes of Misaki, Filho, and Hendo as the 2000s rolled along. That's where I think the losses would have started to mount up. 

Well, in 2000 he'd have been 42 so more than likely on the slide at that point. My main argument is that he had both the mindset and athleticism that modern MMA fighters require, and if he'd been around today, for example, I have no doubt he'd have expanded his skillset and been a force in the sport.

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Point taken about his age. I forgot about how old he was when he called it a day. Adjust my timeline to him being 10 years younger. 

He's a fascinating "what if". 

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Which is what makes Kron so interesting a prospect. He could essentially be Rickson 2.0.

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This Rickson highlight is amazing. Not a fan of U2 but the song and footage fit perfectly here. E-LE-VA-TION;

And here’s a little clip of Rickson in the 80s. He’d have been in his 20s here. 

There’s actually more old footage of Rickson on YouTube than I expected. 

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Excellent post on this page, wand. By 2000 not only was Rickson old but his body was absolutely battered. Fighters rarely come away without damage, but Rickson's back was an absolute mess by most accounts.

What we do know about Rickson (and wand's gif touched on it), his training was very advanced. Choke shows you all his mad workouts, including yoga and movement training etc. It's only really been the past 4/5 years where they've started to become commonplace in most top camps because of their undeniable benefits. Rickson was doing all that 30+ years before most would consider them viable for combat sports.

Like a lot of greats from yesteryear, Rickson lives in a mythical bubble. It's indeed a bit like Pele or Best. Although I bet Rickson shagged more than Best.

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1 hour ago, jimufctna24 said:

It's true that the Gracie clan chose Royce because they wanted to show that a man of modest size and stature could rip through the field merely by being skilled in the Gracie system. It was the right decision. However, MMA caught up to the Gracie's quite quickly. Severn and Shamrock gave Royce all sorts of problems at UFC 4 and 5 respectively. Royce was very lucky to escape those bouts without a loss on his record.

There is an argument that Rickson was preserved to keep the "Gracie myth" alive. If say Frank Shamrock or Wanderlei Silva had beaten Rickson in the early 2000s, then that would have been the end of the myth. It would have proven that the Gracie system wasn't the ultimate fighting system, so to speak. Rickson would have been beaten on skill, not size. Rickson was therefore carefully protected to ensure that the Gracie clan could save face. 

 

ive never neccesarily believe the story that they chose Royce as he was the smallest and was the best way to show the effectiveness of the system, always thought there was an element of Gracie sugar coating to it. Similar to the Rickson myth, he was the one remaining asset the Gracie's had after the others got beaten, it was always like he was a secret weapon that was always threatening to come off the leash.

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His son Rockson died as well in late 2000. He was only 19. So that also lined up timing-wise with him jacking fighting in. He’ll more than likely have appeared in the Choke documentary at various points. 

6TjBys.jpg

Really sad story. 

Here’s a bit of an article from BJJHeroes on it. Note the bold bit on the Sakuraba fight. Never knew they were supposed to fight but Rockson’s death, understandably, seems to have been the main reason why it never happened. I knew Rickson had a son who died young but didn’t know the details or put two and two together on the timeline. It all makes sense now why Rickson never came back to fight Sakuraba, or anyone else for that matter. 

Quote

Rockson Gracie was born in 1982, being the son of arguably the greatest Jiu Jitsu competitor of all time, Mr Rickson Gracie and the former model Kim Gracie (Lilian Stavinsky). Rockson was the oldest out of 4 children (Rockson, Kauan, Kaulin and Kron Gracie).

Being the first born child of Rickson, Jiu Jitsu came naturally to the young Gracie and his training started from an early age. On the Vale Tudo documentary “Choke” featuring Rickson Gracie, Rockson is caught on tape several times next to his father. Other footage of the young prodigy is seen on early 1990s promotional videos for Rickson and his BJJ school in the US.

With an amazing track record, an intense look (shaven head, tattoos) and Rickson Gracie always by his side, Rockson Gracie became somewhat of a sensation in the US’ competitive scene, being pointed out by some of the media as the next hot prospect to come out of the Gracie family, a family with a great fighting tradition.

On October of 2000, at 19 years of age, Rockson decided to leave his parents house in Los Angeles and move to New York with his girlfriend to try a career as a professional model. As the weeks went by Rockson’s contact with the family started being less frequent, and by the end of January 2001, after almost 1 month without contact, Rickson decided to ask his cousin Renzo Gracie (who lived and owned a gym in New York) to track his son’s whereabouts.

Renzo found Rockson’s girlfriend in Miami on the 7th of February, she informed him the couple had split, Renzo returned to New York that day. Now truly worried he started searching the hospitals and police stations. Renzo finally identified Rockson’s body from a police file through Rockson’s arm tattoo which said: “The Best Father of the World: Rickson Gracie”. Rockson had been found dead by the authorities in December due to drug intoxication at the Providence hotel in Manhattan.

Rockson’s body was exhumed from the pauper’s grave where it had been buried, he was cremated and the ashes taken to his favorite Malibu beach where they were spread.

Rickson Gracie, who was set to fight Kazushi Sakuraba that year, in what would’ve been the most anticipated MMA fight in the history of the sport, cancelled the fight and never fought professionally again. He has mentioned on more than one occasion that his son’s loss was by far the hardest thing to overcome in his life and that he didn’t train for almost 3 years when going through his grieving process.

In 2011 the “Rockson Gracie Foundation” (thegracieway.org) was created in honor of this great champion.

Edited by wandshogun09

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I never even heard of that, super sad. The story of Ryan is tragic as well.

I wanna go down a Gracie rabbit hole now.

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15 minutes ago, Egg Shen said:

ive never neccesarily believe the story that they chose Royce as he was the smallest and was the best way to show the effectiveness of the system, always thought there was an element of Gracie sugar coating to it. Similar to the Rickson myth, he was the one remaining asset the Gracie's had after the others got beaten, it was always like he was a secret weapon that was always threatening to come off the leash.

I think both theories can be correct. The selection of Royce was beneficial for selling the system. And it also allowed them to keep Rickson in reserve. As a "secret weapon" as you put it. 

But fuck knows with the Gracies. 

 

 

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Rickson on Rogan’s podcast telling the Yoji Anjo story;

For those who aren’t familiar with the story, basically Takada and the UWFi worked shoot pro wrestling promotion in Japan were calling out Rickson and wanted him to ‘fight’ in their company. He declined but offered them to come to his gym if they wanted to fight. They took him up on the offer and brought Yoji Anjo and a load of media. It didn’t end well for Anjo.

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Listen to Rickson’s version. It’s better. 

No doubt it’ll have been a complete one-sided mauling but I hope Rickson does release the tape one day. It’s part of MMA history and was the incident that pretty much ended up spawning Pride. 

Fuck, we might as well rename this the Rickson Gracie thread. 

Edited by wandshogun09

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4 hours ago, Egg Shen said:

ive never neccesarily believe the story that they chose Royce as he was the smallest and was the best way to show the effectiveness of the system, always thought there was an element of Gracie sugar coating to it. Similar to the Rickson myth, he was the one remaining asset the Gracie's had after the others got beaten, it was always like he was a secret weapon that was always threatening to come off the leash.

The story makes perfect sense. Even more so when you hear the guys who fought in that event when they're looking back, as to a man they all say "I was wondering who this little, fresh faced guy in pyjamas was" and shit to that effect.

You think they'd have said the same thing with this guy standing across from them?

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As was mentioned, he was doing shit back then in training that we're seeing done now. Unlike most of the guys from that era, he looks in that photo like someone you'd see today in the UFC and think "Christ, that looks like a star in the making."

Having someone who looked like Rickson going in and absolutely demolishing everyone (as he undoubtedly would have done, although seeing him against that era Shamrock would have been awesome) wouldn't have shone the spotlight on Gracie BJJ as much as we saw happen with Royce.

You see a guy like Rickson choke out people and you kinda expect it. He's a bad looking dude.

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a quick google search reveals several theories, one is that Rickson didnt compete because him and Rorion fell out over money and that Rorion wanted to promote his own brand of Gracie BJJ but Rickson was branching out on his own. Rickson himself sort of backs that by saying in interviews that they chose Royce because he was easier to manage.

The Royce was chosen to best display the martial art just seems like a nice story they told to sell the family brand. I might be completely wrong but theres evidence out there to show that the Gracies official story isnt the whole truth.

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Even if it's not the actual story, it certainly worked out that way, for reasons I've mentioned above. Watching someone like Rickson smash through everyone wouldn't have been nearly as impressive as watching Royce do it.

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It would certainly have been different. I think a lot of people expected people to be throwing Bloodsport-style spinning kicks and extreme violence. Seeing any guy take people down and completely neutralise any type of threat was as confusing as it was impressive. 

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