Just two weeks after the first death of a mixed martial artist resulting from injuries sustained in sanctioned competition, the MMA world was struck with another tragedy this weekend, as 33-year-old Ryan Gracie — the so-called “bad boy” of the Gracie clan — was found dead in a Sao Paulo jail cell Saturday morning; he had been arrested Friday night for stealing a car from a 76-year-old man at knifepoint, crashing it, then attempting to steal a motorcycle to flee from police. According to this article, Gracie did not respond to a morning roll call: “When I went to his cell, I saw him lying on his mattress,” [police inspector Paulo] Bittencourt said. “He had no pulse and a reddish liquid was coming out of his mouth. It seems to me he died of a heart attack.”
Psychiatrist Dr. Sabino Ferreira de Faria was called by Gracie’s wife after his arrest and attended to him at the jail. The doctor has allegedly stated that he administered the following drugs to Gracie to calm him down: Haldol (a powerful antipsychotic), Fenergan (which has a side effect of sleepiness), Topamax (for Migraines), Dienpax (tranquilizers), and OmniPlex (relaxant). The doctor remained with Gracie most of the night, and was notified of Gracie’s death as he was returning home. The cause of death has not yet been released by the medical examiner.
So yeah, drug interactions were probably at play here — and if there’s any justice, Dr. “Feelgood” Ferreira will be spending some time in a Brazilian jail cell himself.
Ryan was the son of Robson Gracie (cousin of Royce Gracie), brother of Renzo Gracie, and grandson of Carlos Gracie. He held a record of 5-2 as a middleweight in the PRIDE organization; his last match was a submission victory over Yoji Anjo at PRIDE Shockwave 2004 (12/31/04). Ryan Gracie’s arrest for car-jacking wasn’t his first brush with violence. In 2000, he was arrested for stabbing someone at a Rio de Janeiro nightclub, and in 2005 he accidentally shot himself in the femur, nearly costing him the use of his leg.