It remains to be seen whether the legendary Rickson Gracie will ever compete in MMA again, but if he does, it appears that UFC owner and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta would welcome the man known as “The Greatest Gracie” competing in the historic Octagon for the first time.
Gracie, 50, has not competed since a 2000 bout in Japan where he submitted Masakatsu Funaki with a rear naked choke at 12:49 of round 1. The older brother of UFC 1 winner Royce Gracie, Rickson claims to be unbeaten in over 400 fights contested under grappling, Vale Tudo, Sambo, MMA, and various other rules. In MMA, Gracie was 11-0 with all victories coming by way of submission.
Despite the calls of many hardcore fans to return for one more fight, Gracie has been non-committal to the idea, yet has been very critical of today’s generation of fighters. So critical in fact that it prompted writer David Samuels to ask Fertitta in a one-on-one interview for The Atlantic to share his thoughts on Gracie’s claims.
Fertitta responded by inviting Gracie to put his thoeries about today’s fighters to the test while competing under the UFC banner.
“Let’s do it!,” Fertitta told Samuels. “I mean, that’s the ultimate test, that’s what I said, right? Let’s find out! If that’s the truth, then let’s find out! I mean, don’t just say it. Let’s do it!”
In addition to extending the invite for Rickson to compete, Fertitta was very complimentary towards the Gracie family’s legacy in the sport of MMA.
“It’s almost impossible to define it,” Fertitta began to tell Samuels when asked to define the family’s impact on MMA and the UFC. “They’ve had the most significant role that there is, ever. I mean, they created the whole way, the whole thing. They were the myth-breakers. They showed everybody that this is the most effective form of fighting.”