The early days of the UFC brought Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to the American audience. Legendary Brazilian Helio Gracie developed a self-defense system of martial arts known as the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. It later became known as the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that has dominated combat sports for over twenty years. His eldest son, Rorion Gracie, devised a plan to popularize the BJJ in the United States. The first UFC event fulfilled this purpose. Rorion’s younger brother Royce Gracie won the first UFC event, making the martial art system famous worldwide.
Though Royce and Helio got the credit for the success of BJJ, Rorion’s involvement remains the undervalued aspect. Rorion remains one of the few individuals on the planet to hold a 9th-degree Red belt in BJJ. Rorion started working in film and television productions to bring awareness about BJJ in Hollywood as an attractive martial art. During this time, he joined the production team of Lethal Weapon as a technical adviser and provided training to Mel Gibson.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) originated with Rorion and businessman and promoter Art Davie. Davie always envisioned a competition involving various martial arts to determine the most effective technique. Rorion was mainly interested in showcasing and asserting the dominance of his father’s martial arts system. There were less rules in the early days of the UFC, and the fights had brutal outcomes.
The eldest son of Helio Gracie managed to popularize his father’s martial arts system. He had a savvy business mind and collaborated with Art Davie to start the UFC. Rorion rose to the forefront as a pioneer of the sport of MMA.
Sportskeeda reports Rorion Gracie to have a net worth of around $50 million. However, it does indicate how Rorion got a huge amount of money. He has written many books; the royalty cheques amounted to his net worth. Rorion had various business interests as well.
Rorion Gracie as the early pioneer of UFC and the sport of MMA
The idea of an MMA competition in the United States emerged to find the most competitive form of martial arts. Davie and Gracie invited martial artists of different backgrounds to compete in the first UFC event.
Rorion invited his younger brother Royce to participate in the event. Royce was relatively small compared to his brothers. Rorion wanted Royce to showcase the dominance of their father’s martial art system. Royce went on to win the UFC 1 tournament with relative ease and put the BJJ on the map. The idea conceived by Davie and the motivations of Rorion became the base for the origin of MMA and the UFC.
What belt does Rorion Gracie hold in BJJ?
Rorion holds the 9th-degree Red belt in BJJ
Is Rorion Gracie the son of legendary Brazilian Helio Gracie?
Yes. Rorion is the eldest son of Helio Gracie.
Was Rorion involved in the early days of the UFC?
Rorion actively participated behind the scenes to put on the first UFC event.
Nidhin is an editor and writer for MMA and Boxing. He has passionately followed MMA and UFC since 2017. The second fight between Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones was the entry point into the beautiful sport of MMA. With a background in literature, Nidhin loves to explore stories and backstories, which also remain relevant for MMA.
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