According to a new report on SI.com, jiu-jitsu savant Roger Gracie is close to signing a multi-fight deal with Strikeforce. CEO Scott Coker claims that negotations with Gracie are "pretty much done," and he plans to start off the 27-year-old heavyweight competitor in a Challenger Series event this fall. Said Coker: "We’re going to see if we can create some awareness with him, see how he does fighting-wise, and take it from there. We’re going to give him every opportunity to crossover into MMA. He’s going to have plenty of time to see if he really likes to do it."
Of course, if you’re a follower of competitive grappling, you’re already very aware of Gracie’s body of work…
The grandson of BJJ co-founder Carlos Gracie, Roger has been winning grappling competitions for the last 10 years. Most notably, he took first place in the Under-99kg and Open-Weight categories at the 2005 Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championship; during his run in the Open-Weight bracket, he tapped out Shinya Aoki, Fabricio Werdum, Alexandre "Xande" Ribeiro, and Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza. He’s tested the waters of MMA twice so far, and was successful both times, with his most recent win coming via first-round rear-naked-choke against Yuki Kondo last May at Sengoku: Second Battle. Visual evidence of Gracie’s awesomeness is below. Future Strikeforce champion?
(Gracie vs. Jacare, ADCC 2005)
(Gracie vs. Kondo, Sengoku 2)
(Gracie vs. Waterman, BodogFight)