Pic by SHERDOG.COM -click for source- Credit: Dave Mandel

Pic by SHERDOG.COM -click for source- Credit: Dave Mandel

Alright fans, this is what you all have been waiting for. We had a landslide of votes for this week’s winner. Thanks again to all the fans for being so interactive every week. This week’s winner is…………………..

~ Royce Gracie ~

Gracie can arguably be credited with changing the sport of MMA into what it is, and the man who really started using BJJ to take his opponents out.

Royce Gracie (14-2-3) is a hall of famer, 6th degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and could be considered one of the best in all MMA history.

~ MMA Accomplishments ~

  • First submission in the UFC
  • First ever tournament champion in UFC
  • Most tournaments won in UFC history (Three)
  • Most wins by submission in UFC history (Eleven)
  • Second most consecutive wins in UFC history (Eleven)
  • Most tournament wins in UFC history (Eleven)
  • Most wins in one night (Four)
  • Longest fight in Pride (Pride Grand Prix 2000 Finals) at 90 minutes
  • UFC Hall of Fame (First inductee)
  • UFC Viewer’s Choice Award

~ Most Notable Losses ~

I love this because it is so short. Royce Gracie can be credited with being the “David” to all the “Goliaths” in the MMA world. Granted this is the same guy who would pull someone’s hair just because it was legal. But at the time of UFC 1, there was no weight-classes or a strong set of rules.

So, Gracie did everything in his power to not end up on the losing end, but it did happen two times in his career. One mattered, and one just plain shouldn’t have happened.

When Gracie entered the Pride Grand Prix 2000 Finals, he took on a dangerous fighter in Kazushi Sakuraba, and the worst part is Gracie basically made the rules for the fight. The rules modified for unlimited rounds/no ref stoppages.

The first round ended up being a scramble back and fourth. Gracie got the fight to the ground, but Sakuraba wasn’t easy to keep down being a great grappler himself. Sakuraba ended up winning the fight via TKO (corner stoppage) in the 6th round and the fight ended up being the fight of the year.

The only problem I still have with this fight happened in the second round where Gracie had Sakuraba against the ring in a standing guillotine choke and for a brief second it looked like Sakuraba tapped, but the ref never saw it. Go back and watch the replay and tell me what you think. To this day I still think Gracie was robbed.

Gracie would redeem himself in his last MMA match in 2007 where he defeated Sakuraba via unanimous decision, but after the fight Gracie tested positive for anabolic steroids. Gracie was fined $2,500 (the maximum penalty the Commission can impose) and suspended for the remainder of his license, which ended on May 30, 2008. Gracie ended up paying the fine.

Gracie’s second big loss should have never happened. Not the loss, but the actual fight. Gracie took on Matt Hughes at UFC 60 in 2006 in a catch-weight fight. This was Gracie’s first match in the UFC and in the United States since UFC 5 (11 years ago).

The event drew 620,000 buys, becoming the best-selling pay-per-view in UFC history, and the first to break the $20 million mark in gross PPV sales. I remembered being so pumped for this fight.

Gracie was known for being a master on the ground and Hughes was known for being a beast and the strongest fighter at 170 at the time. Hughes controlled the whole fight. He out powered the BJJ practitioner and ended up getting his back early and finishing Gracie by TKO in the first round due to ground and pound (punches to the side of his head). Hughes put all the naysayers to rest and showed the world that the fans that the sport of MMA had evolved.

~ Most Notable Wins ~

Gracie is most famous for not only being the first person to get a submission win in the UFC, but also the winner of the first ever UFC tournament. Gracie defeated Art Jimmerson, Ken Shamrock (57 seconds) and Gerard Gordeau all by way of submission in the first round.

From there Gracie would win the second UFC tournament defeating another three guys in one night all by first round submissions. Gracie won his first 11 UFC fights all by first round submission.

A lot of spectators give Gracie his credit where credit is do, while some still consider Gracie the dirtiest fighter in mma history. Gracie fought guys three times bigger than him (Dan Severn, Ken Shamrock, as well as others), he wore a karate gi and would always do whatever it took to be victorious.  I’m sure we all remember when Gracie pulled Kimo Leopoldo‘s hair before getting Kimo in an armlock. So some can say Gracie was a punk, but to this day I still think Gracie put the “mixed” in mixed martial arts.

~ Best Win ~

Gracie defeating Dan Severn at UFC 4 via triangle choke in the first round (his third win of the night), winning the 4th UFC tournament, and becoming the first and only fighter to win 3 UFC tournaments.

If you know mma without Royce Gracie, you don’t know anything.

Make sure to vote for your MMA-Freak of the week for next week.

~ The Choices Are ~

Vote 1- Jon Jones

Vote 2- GSP

Vote 3- Benson Henderson