Royce Gracie speculates he was chosen for UFC 1 because of his looks and lack of fight experience

UFC will be celebrating their 30th anniversary this year. To mark the occasion, the promotion changed the iconic logo on the glove and replaced it with the new one.

In November of 1993, UFC’s inaugural tournament was taped under the guidance of founders Rorion and Helio Gracie.

Sibling Rivalry and Mismanagement

While Gracie family had many great athletes, they opted to feature Royce Gracie.

Rickson Gracie’s relationship with his brother Rorion and mismanagement of finances and opportunities prevented him from competing in the UFC, despite being widely regarded as the best mixed martial artist in the Gracie family. The decision to put Royce in the spotlight was not only due to his ability but also to avoid making Rickson a star who would overshadow Rorion. It’s a classic example of how family feuds can impact even the most promising careers.

The End of Rickson’s UFC Dream

Royce Gracie recently addressed the circumstances under which he was chosen, joking that his looks potentially had a lot to do with it.

Gracie told Legend 2 Legend podcast:

“I think that the people that they picked me, not because of my skills, I was not the best. I was not the best. They picked me because of the looks.”

Young Royce Gracie was skinny and mild mannered
Young Royce Gracie was ‘average’ looking and that made him the perfect representative of BJJ because it meant that anyone could learn BJJ

“I was wondering, people, people have been asking me this, why they picked me. I was like, I don’t know, maybe because I wasn’t the violent one.”

“Maybe because I never had a fight before.”

“You see, in a lot of the brothers, a lot of the cousins, they were already fighters and maybe they got there. They would have beat up the opponent. You see, drop blood and make my father thought that wouldn’t be the goal. So, he knew I’m the nice one.”

Royce went on to detail it’s very hard to pinpoint his best MMA moment because there were many landmarks:

“From the first (UFC) three fights in one night, to four fights in one night, to Sakuraba, the longest fighting history,  To Aki Bono, the biggest opponent ever.  It’s hard to pick one.”

Please provide transcription credit with a link to this article if you use any of these quotes on your website otherwise we’ll be forced to legally pursue our options.

– Editorial staff of BJJDOC