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Increasing Speculation That He Will Fight at UFC Rio: Royce Gracie Reportedly Pulls Out of UK Seminar Tour to Focus on Training for Fight in August

(The question is, which weight class will Royce fight under? Photo: UFC.com)

CagePotato.com received word over the weekend from a source close to the situation that Royce Gracie has cancelled the European leg of his spring seminar tour and that the official reason given to the group organizing his UK appearances (NJM promotions) is that the UFC Hall-of-Famer has accepted an offer from the promotion to fight on its August 27 card in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

According to NJM, Gracie’s manager, Mike Kogan revealed the news to them, which was relayed to the seminar host gyms in an effort to explain why the 44-year-old UFC 1, 2 and 4 tournament winner would not be able to make his scheduled appearances in England.

When contacted by us today via email to ask if Royce has indeed signed on to fight on the card, and if so, whom he will face, Kogan did not deny the stated reason for his client pulling out of his European tour, but said that nothing is official YET.

“We are talking about fighting in August,” Kogan confirmed. “Nothing is locked down, no.”

No potential opponents have been named for his possible return to the Octagon, but a few names come that with pre-built story lines would make sense.

Following his UFC 60 loss to Matt Hughes in 2006, Gracie expressed his desire to rematch the former UFC welterweight champ, explaining that he overtrained for the bout and didn’t perform as expected as a result, so a rematch would make sense, but there are at least two other opponents that would make sense, especially for a card set in Brazil.

With BJ Penn‘s past history with Royce’s cousins Ralph, who calls “The Prodigy” a traitor for leaving him to train at Nova Uniao before calling out his brother Renzo for a 2005 K-1 bout, that’s another grudge match that wouldn’t take much marketing to sell. A third possible scenario would see the UFC sign Kazushi Sakuraba to face Gracie in a heavily-anticipated rubber match. In their last fight — a June 2007 Dynamite!! USA bout in California, Royce defeated “The Gracie Killer” by unanimous decision, but subsequently tested positive for the anabolic steroid Nandralone. He has disputed the test results for the past four years, claiming that the accusation that he uses PEDs is preposterous as he weighs just two pounds more than he did when he made his UFC debut in 1993. Sakuraba defeated Royce in 2000 by TKO and has beaten Royler, Renzo and Ryan Gracie, which is how he earned his nickname.

Considering that the show is nearly five months away and that there are a number of other suitable opponents from Dan Hardy to Mike Swick whose stock in the Octagon would benefit from a fight with a legend like Gracie, it’s likely that we won’t know until April or May if and whom Royce will fight on the card.

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Mir please break Brocks neck- March 29, 2011 at 11:12 pm
Royce should fight Phil Baroni..... Nah. Just kiddin'......

Fuck the Vagina Fertitta brothers. Twice.

Lorenzo..."Please flex your drug soaked arms and chest even more during the weigh-ins". Faggot.

On the REAL for just a second..... I would ACTUALLY like to see Keith Hackney get another shot at Royce. THAT would be a GREAT fight!

Frank Mir for President!!
CauliflowerBeer- March 29, 2011 at 5:09 pm
3 random dudes from the audience; drop your names in the hat as you enter, folks!; men, women, children...pick em out after the prelims... sign the waiver and bang!!!
GrandShamrock- March 29, 2011 at 12:16 pm
If we are going to stay true to the origins, then Royce should fight 3 unknown bums a night.
CauliflowerBeer- March 28, 2011 at 8:23 pm
Tank Abbott, why not?
agentsmith- March 28, 2011 at 3:00 pm
^ I think I'd actually bet on McKenzie in that fight. Royce is 44, hasn't fought in 4 years, and MMA left him behind long before even then.
RSparrow- March 28, 2011 at 2:58 pm
@Taco
Exactly, especially when there's so much fucking day.

I'd like to see Royce fight Cody Mckenzie, so I could watch the crazy swamp man go after his neck. Funny shit.
kellyman- March 28, 2011 at 2:47 pm
steampunk - If only...
Hesh to Steel- March 28, 2011 at 1:09 pm
I think Sakuraba has the best fighter nickname, like, ever.

I'm curious to see if this happens or not. Could it be possible that he cancelled his teaching tour because he'll be cornering another Gracie?
radiobaby- March 28, 2011 at 12:56 pm
If he and Sakuraba fought once a year every year til they were 80, I would probably watch most of them.
Morningwood- March 28, 2011 at 12:55 pm
Royce is the only true competitor to John Jones! He'd choke Jones out in the first 90 seconds.
RwilsonR- March 28, 2011 at 12:27 pm
Honestly, Sakuraba is the only fight that makes any sense at all since they can't do it with Dan Severn since they implemented these damn weight classes.
sonnych- March 28, 2011 at 12:26 pm
he should fight wallid ismael a rematch
sonnych- March 28, 2011 at 12:25 pm
wheres that record from rickson gracie i know of 3 mma loses sakuraba hughes and yoshida yoshida choked his ass but i dont know how it was a draw i guess out of pity
RwilsonR- March 28, 2011 at 12:24 pm
Royce should fight Anderson Silva, but Anderson Silva can only fight while doing his Royce Gracie impression.
steampunk22- March 28, 2011 at 12:17 pm
Taktarov. Seriously. It will happen.
blackboxmma- March 28, 2011 at 12:13 pm
When is the last time a gracie or gracie trained fighter actually won a fight in the UFC?
Fried Taco- March 28, 2011 at 12:09 pm
why night? not sure what that is supposed to mean...
agentsmith- March 28, 2011 at 12:02 pm
I watched UFN 24 on Rogers Sportsnet, and just before it was a show called "MMA Connected" on which Dana White was asked point-blank if Royce was coming back to the UFC, and he replied, "I don't think so." The tone and look on his face implied that he couldn't care less about Royce.
Koeikan- March 28, 2011 at 12:00 pm
WTF??

Are you really suggesting that the UFC should match up BJ Penn against Royce? Mike Swick? Dan Hardy?

Did Royce fuck your wife or something? You're basically calling for his death. He was completely outmatched by Hughes and Hughes was willing to engage Royce in his realm. You think Royce will be able to take any of those other guys down with his infamous lift-knee-fake-straight-kick-dive-into-single-leg takedown? Cuz I don't.

The only way a fight with Gracie works is if:
- fights another legend from the early days (Sakuraba/Ken)
- fight someone else with a very limited skillset (think a welterweight James Toney)
- he fights someone as rusty as he is or who doesn't fight anymore (shrug...maybe like a famous trainer. I honestly think someone Matt Hume, Erik Paulson, or Greg Jackson could all give Royce problems).

Pitting him up against a decent active fighter is asking for trouble, IMO...
Fried Taco- March 28, 2011 at 11:59 am
Royce vs Renzo - make it happen! If you can do Jones vs Evans, why night?
Username- March 28, 2011 at 11:17 am
Now is the Time! The match that never happened: Royce Gracie vs. Harold Howard! :D :D
Austin3210- March 28, 2011 at 10:57 am
It pains me as much as anyone else to see the first generation legends being ushered out of the sport due to Father Time, but seriously. Time to pass the fucking torch.
Morningwood- March 28, 2011 at 10:55 am
yeah, why do we have to watch him fight. Can't he come in and interfere with a match his "brother" from a different mother is losing? OR be a special ref?
Bootylam- March 28, 2011 at 10:40 am
Oh Roger, so true. UFC is starting to embarrass me when all I hear from people over to watch is "He's STILL fighting? Jeez..." Let's get the young guns up and firing. Sorry Tito, Chuck, Randy, Matt, Marcus, Rich, Nate, Mirko, Wandy.. better stop, getting sad.
rogerw- March 28, 2011 at 10:29 am
I'd really rather see two ambitious 20-year-old Brazilians who I've never heard of fight their hearts out to make a name for themselves than granddad Royce against some can.
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