- Full Name: Royce Gracie
- Birthday: December 12, 1966
- Affiliation: Gracie Humaitá
Royce Gracie is a professional martial artist, who has competed in the UFC and Bellator MMA. A pioneer of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Gracie is regarded by MMA fans as the most significant figure in the sport’s history. Gracie brought Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to the mainstream, and transformed combat sports with his achievements leading to the widespread adaptation of cross training and grappling. He has more consecutive submission wins in the UFC than anyone else (eleven), which were gained from UFC 1 to UFC 4.
Royce Gracie was born in Brazil in 1966, and his father was the legendary martial arts master Helio Gracie. Royce started Jiu Jitsu as a toddler, training with his father and brothers (Relson, Rorion, Royler and Rickson — who were all influential BJJ practitioners in their own right). When he was eight, he entered his first tournament and began teaching when he was fourteen. At sixteen, Gracie gained his blue belt, and he earned his black belt several months before he was officially old enough to receive it (his father agreed to make an exception). After this, Gracie traveled to America with his brother Rorion, to teach at the Gracie Martial Arts Academy they were setting up there.
Gracie participated in the first UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) event in 1993, which would forever change the nature of combat sports. In this event, fighters from different disciplines came together to determine which style was most effective, in an ‘anything goes’ type of contest. Gracie emerged victorious in this tournament, despite weighing less than any of his competitors. He also participated in the next three UFC events, and won the fourth and second events – while losing in the third because of injuries sustained in the semi final.
Gracie agreed to fight Wallid Ismail in 1998. Ismail had studied Jiu Jitsu under Carlson Gracie, Royce’s uncle, and had been calling Royce out for a long time. Gracie was disadvantaged by his lengthy absence from active competition, and was quickly choked out by his opponent.
Royce returned to MMA and successfully participated in big shows, such as K1 Dynamite and Pride FC. He briefly returned to the UFC as well. In 2007, he tested positive for nandrolone (anabolic steroids), which tarnished his career somewhat. When his father Helio Gracie died, Royce decided to start wearing a belt colored navy blue in his honor. This is what Gracie Jiu Jitsu practitioners used to do, before the Jiu Jitsu federation was set up in the sixties.