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Tag: Royce Gracie

CagePotato Roundtable #27: Who Suffered the Furthest Fall from Grace in MMA History?


(Taktarov vs. Kerr, as promoted by Bob Meyrowitz. If this doesn’t embody everything about today’s discussion, then what *does*? Photo courtesy of Sherdog.)

It was thirty-three years ago today that the absolutely tragic bout between Muhammad Ali and Larry Holmes went down — where a younger, far more athletic Larry Holmes beat the aging legend so badly that he actually cried for Ali when it was over. Though Ali is still celebrated as one of the greatest fighters of all time, his legacy has never been the same as it could have been if he simply stayed retired. It’s in memory of this fight that we’ll be talking about falls from grace during today’s roundtable: fighters who stuck around far too long, lost some embarrassing bouts as a result and tarnished their once-great legacies. Read on for our picks, and please continue to send your ideas for future CagePotato Roundtable topics to tips@cagepotato.com.

George Shunick

Tim Sylvia: A name once synonymous with greatness, excitement, and extraordinary physique. Once atop the Mount Olympus of the sport, he reigned supreme over lesser beings for roughly four years, vanquishing the best of the best in his weight class. OK, so maybe I’m exaggerating here. So maybe Tim Sylvia was never exactly a world beater; he was awkward, plodding, fat, had no real ground game to speak of and was the UFC heavyweight champion when all the best fighters in the division were busy competing across the Pacific ocean.

But for all that, he was the heavyweight champion. He even had sex with his greatest rival’s ex-girlfriend. (Leading to this glorious interview with said rival, Andrei Arlovski.) He was relatively wealthy, at least compared to other fighters. Point being, he had achieved all someone who came into this world as Tim Sylvia could possibly hope to achieve. Even once he had lost the title, he still retained the respect that was deservedly owed to him.

Then this happened.

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Royce Gracie Plain Wrong in His Criticism of Own Family


(We never expected The Godfather of MMA to take sides against the family like this. | Photo by Sherdog.com)

By Elias Cepeda

On Monday I wrote about practitioners of “real” Jiu Jitsu. That is, those who have a background in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and who test those skills in real fights.

Kron Gracie looks to be the next such high-profile example as he sets his sights on a 2014 MMA debut. Royce Gracie is, of course, the first that most of us ever heard of.

Gracie entered the original UFC tournaments as the lightest fighter in open weight contests where the only rules were no biting, eye gouging or fish-hooking, and submitted three and four men in single-night tournaments with the Jiu Jitsu skills that his family developed. As such, Royce’s place in history is more than secure.

As younger family members of his try to carve out their own space in MMA, however, Royce is offering not support but rather rough criticism. Many have criticized fighters like Roger and Rolles Gracie for not being as well-rounded as a few of their best opponents, and take the occasions of their losses to pile on.

Surprisingly, Royce is the latest critic to add some fertilizer onto that pile. Unlike many others, however, Royce says that the reason for his family members’ recent losses is because they are trying to be too well-rounded.

“Jiu-jitsu is enough,” Royce Gracie recently told MMAFighting.com. “I’ve trained boxing in the past to learn the distance, trained wrestling to understand how he would take me down, but I won’t get there to fight my opponent’s game. The [new] guys [from the Gracie] family want to complement their game, like if Jiu-Jitsu was incomplete. I guess they forgot a little about history.

“I do jiu-jitsu my whole life, so why would I try to stand and bang with Mike Tyson?” he went on. ”I’m going to learn boxing in six months because my opponent is good in boxing? That makes no sense.”

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On Rank, Resumes, and Arm Bars — The Simple Reason Why Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Still Matters in MMA


(The Gracies proved that BJJ is indispensable — not that it’s invincible. / Photo via Getty)

By Elias Cepeda

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in mixed martial arts has been on my mind a bit more than usual lately. A few weeks ago Benson Henderson walked to the ring wearing a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gi with his brand new black belt tied around it at the waist.

Minutes later he walked out, his black belt still in tow but without his UFC lightweight title belt after getting submitted by an arm bar from inside the full guard of Anthony Pettis. At the time, Pettis was ranked as a blue belt — the belt just above white in BJJ.

Not many weeks prior to that, Roger Gracie, the most dominant submission grappling competitor in decades, lost his UFC debut and then was promptly dropped from the organization. This past Saturday, Roger’s cousin Rolles – son of legendary Rolls Gracie – got knocked out in the second round of his WSOF 5 fight with Derrick Mehmen in tragically comic fashion.

Rolles got hit, the punch put him out on his feet and he spun around slowly before falling to the ground. It looked like the slapstick “Flair Flop” move that pro wrestler Ric Flair used to pull off after getting hit to put over his opponent. Three and a half years ago, of course, Rolles humiliated himself against Joey Beltran in his lone UFC fight after appearing to exhaust himself almost immediately.

Both recent Gracie losses brought about public questions of whether or not the Gracie family and Jiu Jitsu itself have become outdated in modern MMA. Henderson’s submission loss to Pettis could have been seen as a triumph of Jiu Jitsu technique but instead, some critics chose to question the validity and use of BJJ belt ranks.

What did Henderson’s black belt mean, exactly, if he could go out and get submitted by someone with a lower BJJ rank, who was more known for high-flying kicks than anything, and with such a basic move? The notions that Gracies losing fights and Henderson getting submitted somehow reflect negatively on Jiu Jitsu itself are, of course, silly.

MMA isn’t about magical styles and secrets solely in the possession of those with certain-colored pieces of clothing or particular surnames. It never has been.

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Great Dana White Vlog or Greatest Dana White Vlog?

UFC 162 takes place this Saturday in Las Vegas and organization President Dana White has released his first video blog of the week leading up to the event. It’s pretty good.

In it, UFC Hall of Fame fighter Chuck Liddell teaches TUF finalist Uriah Hall how to set up his deadly over hand right punch, as well as wrestles around with Mike Tyson and Royce Gracie. Liddell protege Glover Teixeira gets to meet Tyson, a hero of his and Uncle Dana personally makes the streets of Vegas safer.

Enjoy the vlog in between charred meat sessions today, all you American taters. For our Canadian friends – enjoy work, suckers!

Crap. I guess I’m working today too…and without that whole socialized health care benefit to boot.

Still, ‘Merica!

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MMA Bracketology: Re-Imagining the UFC 2, UFC 3, And UFC 6 Tournaments


(And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why history must be re-written.)

By Matt Saccaro

Tournaments seem like a great way to determine the best competitor from a group of athletes. You have 8 (or 16 or 32 or whatever the number) fighters, put them in a bracket, and then let them fight it out. The last dude standing clearly must be the best because he survived the tournament, right?

At first, that logic seems OK. But upon closer scrutiny, it starts to sound like something Master Shake would try to argue.

Tournaments — like the ones the UFC used to run — are heavily dependent on how the bracket is organized. Some fighters get an easy run, others get a gauntlet.

This got us at Cage Potato thinking: What if some of the early UFC tournament brackets were re-organized or even shuffled just a little bit? Who would end up becoming the “Ultimate Fighters” of the 1990s? Let’s find out!

UFC 2

UFC 2 was the first and only 16-man tournament run by the UFC. The first round of the tournament — save for Royce Gracie’s fight (of course)—didn’t air on the PPV and aren’t on the DVD either.  These “lost fights” from UFC 2 have quite a few interesting characters such as the enigmatic Pencak Silat master Alberto Cerro Leon and the chubby, sweatpants-clad Robert Lucarelli.

Look at the complete bracket and see how many names you recognize. Most of these guys from the UFC 2 dark matches had no chance in the tournament, save for a man named Freek (or Frank) Hamaker.  We’re going to stick with Freek because it rhymes with Reek. A fighter like Hamaker was a rarity in the early days. He wasn’t a hapless striker fated to be embarrassed.  He was a sambo practitioner who trained under legendary European grappler Chris Dolman.

Hamaker’s first (and only) fight was at UFC 2 against the mysterious San Soo Kung Fu man Thaddeus Luster. The fight went like the typical early UFC fight. The guy with grappling immediately took down the guy without grappling and won shortly afterwards. Hamaker withdrew from the tournament after defeating Luster and disappeared to the pornography theater from whence he came.

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“There’s No Points on the Street”: Royce Gracie Talks BJJ, Exit From Fighting + More [VIDEO]


(Props: YouTube.com/CagePotato)

In this chat with CagePotato.com reporter Elias Cepeda at the Metamoris 2 pro jiu-jitsu invitational, UFC godfather Royce Gracie gives us his thoughts on modern BJJ — he prefers the old-school basics, big surprise — and tells us how he’s been spending his days now that his MMA life is officially behind him. And believe us, it’s behind him:

“You gotta know when to stop. It’s not an easy business to be in. I’m just teaching and enjoying life [now]. I’m 46 years old, been there, done that, fought everybody. There’s always gonna be a new guy that [says] ‘Hey, can we fight?’ Nahhh. Been there, done that.”

Follow Royce on Twitter @RealRoyce, and subscribe to our channel for more good stuff.

Previously — Backstage Interview: Renato Laranja, The Unofficial Rabbi of Metamoris 2 [VIDEO]

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The 9 Most Pathetic Hooks the UFC Has Used to Draw PPV Buys


(At one point, Jones tried to pull away because he thought the handshake was over, but Chael held on for like a half-second longer. It was, without question, the most challenging moment of Jones’s professional MMA career. / Photo via Getty Images)

By Matt Saccaro

The fight game isn’t just about tatted-up white guys with shaved heads hitting each other in the face. If it were, BodogFIGHT and the IFL would still be alive and kicking. Marketing /Hype/PR is a crucial aspect of the fight business — but it doesn’t always go so well.

There were times when the UFC has had stunning marketing triumphs (the whole “Zuffa created the entire MMA world and if you don’t like it you’re a butthurt Pride fanboy” shtick). But there were also times when the UFC’s efforts fell flat on their face like Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante against Dan Henderson.

What were some of these hyped-up but obviously bullshit moments? Let’s have a look…

1. Watch Che Mills, the Unstoppable Killing Machine!


(Source: Getty)

UFC 145’s main event of Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans was strong enough to sell a pay-per-view on. Sure, sometimes the promo made the two fighters look like jilted lovers, but we’re not gonna hate on the UFC for hyping up a title fight.

We will, however, hate on them for trying to convince fans that a squash match — Rory MacDonald vs. Che Mills — was some kind of epic duel between two young lions. There was only one prospect in that fight, and it wasn’t Che Mills.

The UFC’s inability to do anything with subtlety ruined the promos for this event, the prelims for this event, and most of the PPV portion of this event. Describing Mills as a “new, dangerous welterweight from the UK” was a gross exaggeration. The British striker was only dangerous if you were a TUF bum or if you suffered an accidental knee injury while fighting him.

During the prelims, Rogan was doing the hard sell. THIS CHE MILLS GUY IS A KILLER. HE’S A MONSTER. HE’S A BADASS. HE BEHEADED NED STARK. HE SHOT BAMBI’S MOTHER. Insane falsehoods like this littered the broadcast. Rogan didn’t stop the bullshit once the main card started, either.

We got treated with pro-wrestling-level fakeness about how Che Mills was on MacDonald’s level up until MacDonald, predictably, ran through Mills.

Thus, the only thing that got killed at UFC 145 was Mills’s career.

Since then, Mills hasn’t legitimately won a fight, unless you count Duane Ludwig’s freak injury as a legit win. Earlier this month, Mills lost via TKO to Irishman Cathal Pendred (never heard of him either) at a CWFC event in Ireland.

2. James Toney, Bane of MMA Fighters.

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Friday Link Dump: The Complete Oral History of Strikeforce, King Mo Wants to Box Kimbo Slice, The 50 Dirtiest Athletes Ever + More


(Seems like oooooold times…” / Photo via allelbows)

- The Rise and Fall of the Pepsi to UFC’s Coke: A Strikeforce Oral History (BleacherReport)

- Chael Sonnen vs. Jon Jones Official For UFC 159 in New Jersey (FightDay)

Gegard Mousasi and the Frustration of ‘Overrated’ (MMAFighting)

King Mo Lawal Has Boxing Clause in His Contract, Would Like a Fight With Kimbo Slice (BloodyElbow)

- Cub Swanson Says Fight With Dennis Siver Is #1 Featherweight Contender Match (Fightline)

The 50 Dirtiest Athletes in Sports History (Complex)

Review: Brian J. D’Souza’s “Pound for Pound” MMA book Is Top-Class Reading (FightOpinion)

- Photo of the day: Ed O’Neill chokes out Royce Gracie on the set of ‘Modern Family’ (Facebook.com/CagePotato)

Steven Seagal Owns a Bullet-Proof Kimono. This Is Not a Joke. (FilmDrunk)

If You’ve Never Seen American Psycho, This Rory MacDonald Comic Will Not Make Sense (MiddleEasy)

10 Reasons You’re Not Getting Laid (MensFitness)

- Honest Trailers: Inception (ScreenJunkies)

17 Gifts for People You Hate (EgoTV)

- A Gallery of White People Acting Extremely White (WorldWideInterweb)

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MMA Stats: The Least Decision-Prone UFC Fighters of All Time [UPDATED]


(If James Irvin was a super-hero, his arch-nemesis would be Dr. Fitchtopus. / Photo courtesy of fcfighter.com)

Last week, we described Stefan Struve as “one of the least decision-prone fighters on the UFC roster,” and after he ended yet another fight this weekend before the final bell, we started to wonder — how accurate was that statement, anyway? And who else ranks near the Dutch heavyweight in terms of low decision ratio within the Octagon? So, we assembled a list of the UFC fighters (past and present) who have been least likely to meet the judges; for the purposes of this list, we only considered fighters who have made at least eight UFC appearances.

[Update: After having some knowledge dropped on us by @MMADecisions, we've expanded this list beyond a top-ten.]

As it turns out, Struve comes in at #5 among active UFC fighters, and shares the same decision ratio (8.33%) as Royce Gracie. But there are 11 fighters in front of him on the all-time list, led by welterweight crowd-pleaser DaMarques Johnsoncursed slugger James Irvin, and UFC pioneer Don Frye, who all managed to make it through 10 UFC appearances without ever going to decision. And now, the leaderboard…

DaMarques Johnson: 10 UFC fights, 0 decisions, 0% decision ratio
James Irvin:
10 UFC fights, 0 decisions, 0% decision ratio
Don Frye: 10 UFC fights, 0 decisions, 0% decision ratio
Drew McFedries: 9 UFC fights, 0 decisions, 0% decision ratio
Charles Oliveira: 8 UFC fights*, 0 decisions, 0% decision ratio
Ryan Jensen:
8 UFC fights, 0 decisions, 0% decision ratio
Jason Lambert: 8 UFC fights, 0 decisions, 0% decision ratio
Gary Goodridge8 UFC fights, 0 decisions, 0% decision ratio
Jason MacDonald: 14 UFC fights, 1 decision, 7.14% decision ratio

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[VIDEOS] UFC Legends Gracie, Couture, Coleman, and Ortiz Discuss Favorite Fighters, Respect + More


(The gang discusses favorite/greatest MMA fighters. Spoiler alert: You probably don’t agree with them.) 

If you’ve visited CagePotato in the past year or so, you are undoubtedly aware of the entertainment that a roundtable discussion between friends can bring. From memorable fighter run-ins to the P4P baddest motherfuckers ever, we have held many a debate in this fashion, and as is usually the case, the UFC and FuelTV have once again decided to ride in on our coattails. They began with the thoroughly captivating Champions edition, which featured the likes of Forrest Griffin, Jon Jones, Chuck Liddell, and Frank Mir discussing everything from the dark days of the UFC to its meteoric rise, and have continued the series recently with a panel of fighters that can only be described as “legendary.”

Randy Couture, Royce Gracie, Mark Coleman, and Tito Ortiz sit in for this edition, and dish on respect, favorite fighters, regrets, and the time Wanderlei Silva nearly soccer kicked Mike Van Arsdale’s head from his body. Tito Ortiz manages to air out his regrets without once mentioning Affliction or dick pics, and should be commended for his incredible ability to mentally blackout painful memories.

Join us after the jump for a collection of videos featuring the legends talking shop. We know this isn’t exactly breaking news or anything, but it’s real slow out there today, so why not take a trip down memory lane in the meantime?

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