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Royce Gracie Is Facing Some Serious Financial Charges, You Guys

(And pays 100% under-the-table!!)

When first taking in the idea of seeing 49 year old Royce Gracie and 51 year old Ken Shamrock do battle in the Bellator arena, I was struck with a rather obvious, yet repeatedly forgotten realization. Mainly, that former greats of MMA (or any sport, really, but *especially* MMA) only decide to put the gloves back on for 1 of 3 reasons:

1. They feel that they’ve still got something to prove, a belt/championship to attain, an spouse’s face to rub it in, etc.

2. They miss it.

3. They’re broke.

In the case of Royce Gracie, who will be returning from a 9 year, steroid-shamed absence from the sport at Bellator 149, it’s become apparent recently that his motivations lie closer to #3 than #1.

Duh, right? I mean, why else would someone — especially someone entering the era of osteoporosis — put their health on the line for something as undignified as a Bellator pay-per-view?

(*checks earpiece*) (*learns that Bellator 149 will in fact be broadcast on Spike TV*) (*cries*)

Needless to say, upon waking from the shame eruption blackout I suffered following that announcement, I immediately began running down my list of options. It couldn’t be that Gracie still felt he had something to prove — he was, after all, up 1-0-1 over Shamrock, rendering a trilogy fight all but pointless — and I don’t necessarily think that he found himself looking at how evolved and well-rounded the average fighter is nowadays and saying aloud, “Gee, I miss never being able to do that,” either.

It had to be money, right? What else could draw a man who belongs on the Mt. Rushmore of the sport out of hiding at 50 goddamn years old?!!!

Well, and you know how much I hate to say this, it appears that I was right. (It’s as much a curse as it is a gift, you guys.)

According to BloodyElbow’s Paul Gift, Gracie is being sought after by the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS for us laymen, for failure disclose upward of $1.5 million earned between 2007-2011, the majority of which was wired to Gracie from offshore accounts and spent on vacation properties and paying off credit card debt. After being summonsed to appear before the IRS and produce bank documents aligning with their income and failing to appear in 2012, the Gracies were then hit with a Notice of Deficiency petition by the U.S. Attorney Chief.

According to the Petition, [IRS] Agent Ybarra was assigned “to examine potential international tax issues relating to the [Gracies'] federal income tax returns…” She believed she had discovered foreign bank accounts in which the Gracies had signature authority, yet did not disclose to the IRS.

To date, my investigation has revealed that during the years 2008 – 2011: 1) the [Gracies] had signature authority over an [sic] foreign bank account at HSBC bank in Switzerland; 2) the [Gracies] had signature authority over a foreign bank account at Caixa Penedes bank in Spain; 3) the [Gracies] had a foreign bank account at First Gulf Bank in Abu Dhabi; and, 4) the [Gracies] did not disclose the full extent of their foreign bank account activities on their U.S. tax returns (Forms 1040) as required by law.

On February 1, 2013, the [Gracies'] attorney sent a letter listing their objections to complying with the summonses. No documents were included with this letter. Among the objections set forth in the letter was a claim that the 2008 year was barred because the IRS had closed its 2008 domestic audit. The [Gracies'] also raised a Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.

Not only that, but Royce and his wife, Marianne, also allegedly filed individual tax returns showing minimal taxable income, along with $4,000 child tax and earned income credit claims during the aforementioned three-year span. An Earned Income Credit, for those unfamiliar, “is essentially a subsidy to low-income, working families, providing a tax credit to the working poor which phases out as a family’s income rises.” As the saying goes, “All my heroes are ghosts. That, or tax cheats, sexual predators, domestic abusers, or recently revealed anti-Semites.”

You can read all the grimy details of the IRS case against the Gracie’s over at BloodyElbow. While there has been no word as of yet as to how this may or may not effect Gracie’s future meeting with Shamrock, Gift also notes that, “if Gracie’s attorneys prepared him for a likely settlement or possible undesirable trial outcome, he may have need for more liquid funds in the near future and fighting Ken Shamrock could be just the ticket.”

So great; two broke 50 year-olds are gonna be fighting for milk money in the main event of Bellator 149, but only after a two street brawlers with fake names swing hammers at each other first (or something). How far this sport has come. (*wipes tear from eye*)

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