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Renzo Gracie Isn’t Going to Pretend That Rolles Didn’t Look Terrible at UFC 109

(Funny, I don’t remember this position being taught in those Gracie Jiu-Jitsu instructional videos. Photo courtesy of

Being a Gracie in MMA is a little like being a Kennedy in American politics – for better or worse, there are certain expectations. We realize Rolles Gracie had only his fourth professional fight at UFC 109 on Saturday night, so we didn’t expect him to burst on the scene like the second coming of Rickson. We did, however, expect him to beat a guy who took the bout on a few days’ notice, and whose most significant career win thus far was a knockout of Houston Alexander in January.

For the first few minutes things seemed to be going as planned. Then Rolles turned into an exhausted zombie, plodding flat-footed and open-mouthed around the Octagon before eventually giving up altogether and lying flat on his stomach as he waited for the referee to get bored enough to stop the bout.

A lot of trainers might try and soft-pedal their disappointment out of regard for the guy’s feelings after a fight like that. Renzo Gracie is not one of those trainers. Talking to, he called the performance “embarrassing,” adding:


“I can tell you he wasn’t in that bad of shape. Fact is the nerves drained him of his energy. His stand up and ground work looked bad, nothing at all like he was doing in training leading up to the fight and it was if he couldn’t hear what I was telling him. I think the pressure he put on himself overwhelmed him. He’ll learn and be back.”

Nothing like having your coach assure people that you weren’t in that bad of shape to boost the old confidence. As for Rolles, he seems fully aware of how awful he looked, telling that he should have paced himself better, but instead “kept pushing forward and exhausted my energy.”

It also sounds like he has felt the backlash from disappointed fans who expected a glorious Gracie revival on Saturday night, and instead saw a fighter with the cardio of a toddler:

“I mean, this is MMA, not golf. The fans are a different breed and when they are angry, they definitely let you know. With the internet, Twitter, e-mail, Facebook…everyone is so accessible and with the click of a button, you can tell an athlete exactly what you think of his performance. That’s just the way it is these days and I’m glad to be a part of a sport where the fans are so enthusiastic.”

That’s a remarkably positive way to look at things, Rolles. I never thought of it that way before, but I guess sometimes ‘enthusiastic’ is just another word for ‘vociferous jerks.’

Cagepotato Comments

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ctownhood- February 12, 2010 at 7:48 am
Roger Gracie is the future of Gracie Fighters.....not Rolles
fatbellyfrank- February 12, 2010 at 6:26 am
@GroundfighterMMA, Amen to that, that's Funny shit right there, dont care who you are
OhCanada27- February 10, 2010 at 10:14 pm
21 years** But irregardless, I say!
OhCanada27- February 10, 2010 at 10:12 pm
Whats a 28 year old bearded smoker doing on a playground?
fatbellyfrank- February 10, 2010 at 7:45 pm
@ SenatorCrabHat LOL , most of em not so good against a decent striker either
SenatorCrabHat- February 10, 2010 at 2:04 pm
It was a fight not worth watching. thats it, gracie or no, you shuldnt gas that soon, roy nelson doesnt gas that soon.

i fought a few toddlers in my time, good cardio but no choke defense, arm triangles all day.
PARVO- February 10, 2010 at 2:04 pm
LOL That is the truth
Spidey Sense- February 10, 2010 at 1:26 pm
looks like the pressure is really on for that gracie family fella that's fighting matt hughes at abu dhabi.

2 big reasons for this - 1) after Rolles shit the bed in the UFC, there's a ton of ground to be made up. 2) It's Matt Hughes, which is to say it's an opponent in the twilight of his career. If Renzo can't beat a guy on the downslope like that, then maybe it's time for him sto give up competition as well.

No pressure though.
CheckHisPee- February 10, 2010 at 11:49 am
Well I can't say Rolles' performance came as a big surprise to me. Of course he's bound to gas quick, what with the tramp stamp and all, it's clear he's more used to receiving than giving.
Seriously though, the octagon jitters and Gracie last name = alot of pressure to overcome. I say we give him another chance and if he doesn't come through, THEN we shit all over him.

War Fedor!
richorama- February 10, 2010 at 11:37 am
@imalebowski and with that comment, let the great Toddler Cardio Debate of 2010 end.
LET IT RAIN- February 10, 2010 at 11:26 am
The Mexecutioner FTW!
budsellers- February 10, 2010 at 11:22 am
engage my toddler in a game of knee bouncing or belly tickling and he would easily last longer than that entire ppv card. "more more more"
ReX13- February 10, 2010 at 11:22 am
Actually, i believe you'd find that toddlers have excellent cardiovascular fitness. I can't believe no one has mentioned this yet.

Also, Don Zimmer v/s Pedro Martinez in Boston.
imalebowski- February 10, 2010 at 11:02 am
i think you guys need to re-think cardio of a toddler. i recently went somewhere very similar to discovery zone. lots of tubes and tunnels. being a bearded 21 year old, with a few other similarly aged friends, i really probably didn't belong there. BUT who can resist climbing through tunnels and barely fitting through tubes and being forced to army crawl areas that are meant to be conquered on your knees (like your mother). sorry, back to the story. well, i was covered in sweat and humiliated by my lack of endurance about a minute and a half in. needless to say, there were hundreds of toddler aged kids flying through there with their poor dads trying to keep up. i got completely dominated by those toddlers as far as endurance goes. so, quit giving toddlers a bad name. instead, say rolles had the endurance of a 21 year old bearded smoker.
macreadysshack- February 10, 2010 at 10:49 am
Lol @ imakeutap - haha, why so touchy about the toddler jokes? Funny but very very strange.
Professor Choas- February 10, 2010 at 10:46 am
fact is that was a pathetic performace by Rolles "in his game" almost positive i have better cardio than him and i smoke weed like it owes me money
imakeutap- February 10, 2010 at 10:38 am
@ Sabado Gigante

go look in the mirror for another disgrace, so easy to talk from keyboard, until ur ass is in the cage, u r a joke just like that fuckin mexi show
imakeutap- February 10, 2010 at 10:35 am

ITS FUCKIN 2010!!!!!!!! Tell us something we dont know!!!!!!!!!!
Sabado Gigante- February 10, 2010 at 10:34 am
...or a toddler on rufies
Sabado Gigante- February 10, 2010 at 10:30 am
... More like the cardio of a dead toddler
Kim Couture is a cunt- February 10, 2010 at 10:30 am
KidDinomite- February 10, 2010 at 10:07 am
That's the problem with BJJ now. A lot of these schools practically hand out black belts to students nowadays. Plus the fact that there seems to be a billion BJJ schools now, at least in LA. Is Gracie jiu-jitsu still the best grappling martial art? I don't know, especially after seeing the PPV. Seems like a lot of MMA fighters want to rely on being one-dimensional like the old-school UFC days but now there are wrestlers, Judokas, Sambo pracitioners, and Strikers who just have some kick ass takedown defense. In otherwords, it doesn't pay to know just BJJ or just kickboxing anymore. You gotta be good on the ground and on your feet. A young whore..... of martial arts if you will.
Wyatt- February 10, 2010 at 9:48 am
I am starting to like seeing the Gracie family lose.
I used to be a huge fan, but now it's GracieMag, Graciefighter, all the videos, all the schools in strip malls, all the fighters claiming to be a Gracie BJJ black belt. I'm just kind of over it.
Harry Nips- February 10, 2010 at 9:47 am
The 1st family of fighting better go back to the drawing board if this guy is their future in the sport.
mthomas- February 10, 2010 at 9:46 am
Clearly someone hasn't spent much time around cardio can't keep up with most toddlers.