Remember the days of the prominent Gracie family in mixed martial arts? Of course you do because they’re influence is still around to this day. But that’s not even entirely the truth. It seems that these days even more fighters from the Gracie family tree are actively competing in MMA. From Royce Gracie, the man who introduced the proficiency of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the first ever UFC event, to Neiman Gracie who most recently competed at Bellator 163 back in November 2016, the Gracie family is still very much active on the scene. But an interesting pattern is beginning to arise. Frankly, it seems like Bellator is becoming a breeding ground for members of the Gracie family looking to excel in the sport.
Think about it. Neiman Gracie made his promotional debut at Bellator 134 after a short stint in The World Series of Fighting organization. Then Royce Gracie made his return in February 2016 at Bellator 149 opposite long time rival Ken Shamrock. Neiman would compete under the Bellator banner twice more in 2016 and now as we enter 2017, Ralek Gracie has decided to make his return to the cage in a bout against the dangerous Hisaki Kato.
It’s an interesting turn of events to say the least. The Gracie’s have been around since the inception of MMA and through the generations have still managed to remain competitive. But with so many Gracie’s competing in Bellator, as well as Royce working behind the scenes with the organization at one point, you could say that the second biggest MMA promotion is perhaps becoming something of a breeding ground for “royal family” of MMA.
Now, that’s not to say they’re being favorable match ups, that’s up to debate. After all, Hisaki Kato has been pretty competitive against some decent competition and in turn Ralek has taken up the challenge. But it’s interesting to see that three Gracie’s have competed for the same organization within the last two years. One has to wonder if the family is planning on once again establishing themselves as the premier combatants in MMA.
Is all of this by design?
Who knows really. While more Gracie family members are making the transition to Bellator MMA that doesn’t mean they’re being given any favorable match ups. At this point in the game it would seem that the Gracie family is battling back to once again demonstrate what made them the most dangerous name in MMA. Bellator may be just the organization to get that agenda across in 2017 and beyond. If Ralek Gracie succeeds at Bellator 170 on Saturday, it wouldn’t be surprising to see more members of the revered family compete under the banner.
What do you think of this recent Gracie resurgence in Bellator?