Gracie family made their name synonymous with the martial art but partaking in a series of challenges all over Brazil.
When they crossed over to the US, the challenges became more of a liability and required a different approach. This led Helio Gracie and his lawyer son to start UFC, 30 years ago.
Gracie family had Royce Gracie represent the family in the ‘vale tudo’ competition and these VHS tapes contributed to the popularization of BJJ in the US as well as all across the globe.
But Gracies did not invent MMA – in fact, Muhammad Ali’s exhibition against a Japanese martial artist back in the 1970s is widely credited with the sport’s inception.
Mike Tyson’s popularity was peaking around the same time – which is why Royce Gracie directed a challenge his way. In a recent interview, Royce explained why nothing ever came from the challenge:
“We challenged Mike Tyson because he was the best boxer at the time. So I heard to he accepted. But the people around him did not let him fight back in the day. ”
“So I met Mike Tyson a few times and super nice guy, always very respectful and he’s like, ‘Yes, I wanted to do it, but I’m glad I didn’t do it because if you take me down the ground I would be done.”
Mike Tyson unretired briefly in 2020 but is nowadays mostly content hosting his podcast. There’s been talk of Tyson being the referee for the rumored boxing exhibition between UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou (now a free agent) and Tyson Fury.
Royce Gracie has been keeping busy guiding his son Khonry on his MMA journey. Khonry will be returning to the Bellator cage later this year after an extended break.