When you’ve done something for more than three decades, it becomes more of a passion than a profession. That’s the story of UFC Hall-Of-Famer Royce Gracie.
He was recently in Dubai, for the opening his all-new Royce Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy. DubaiLAD had the chance to chat with him about the programs at his academy, attending UFC 242 and the pinnacle of MMA.
Royce Gracie’s new jiu-jitsu academy in Dubai
The idea of starting a school in Dubai started from one of his students, Amin Touati, a head instructor at the Royce Gracie Academy. Gracie says:
“Amin Touati has been my student for a long time. He had to do a tough task that I do with my students to get a black belt. He’s been teaching for a while, so why not open up a school? That’s when we decided to open up the first one[jiu-jistu academy] in UAE.”
Photograph credit: Royce Gracie Jiu-Jistu Academy
MMA at its prime in the early ‘90s
Gracie, who won the inaugural UFC fight and went on to win another 11 fights, claims 1993-95 saw the best of MMA, especially when it moved to Japan. He says:
“Oh man, the main era for MMA, I would say, were the first UFCs. It caught people by surprise in the beginning, from 1993-95. People didn’t understand until it came to Japan. That was a tough era. They had some of the toughest guys in the world, with no time limit and no weight division. It was brutal and barbaric over there.”
Royce Gracie won’t be attending UFC 242
He says, “When the UFC comes to Abu Dhabi, I will be with the Bellator. They’re doing a lightweight tournament.”
Watch our interview with Royce Gracie: