Ralek Gracie has quite a reputation in the Brazilian jiu-jitsu community, and while it’s one he considers unfair, he has not let it get him down.
The founder of Metamoris and son of ninth-degree red belt Rorion Gracie, Ralek has been widely criticized throughout the combat sports community for the debts he owes Metamoris athletes. Even his brothers — Gracie University founders, Rener and Ryron — distanced themselves from him at one point.
Ralek, however, has a simple message for his critics: if you want the athletes paid, we need your support.
I spoke to Ralek via Skype video call over the weekend, and he assured me that he wanted to pay his athletes. However, he also said he couldn’t pay them without the support of the BJJ community.
“I think it’s just hilarious that people sit and they talk about how, ‘You should pay your athletes before we even support you,'” Ralek told the Jiu-Jitsu Times. “Okay, really? You think that’s how the universe works. That’s how sh*t works, huh? And the problem is, people don’t want to support something that needs support.”
Naturally, AJ Agazarm came up in the conversation. AJ has been one of the most vocal critics of Metamoris and its debt issues. He even streamed Metamoris illegally on his Facebook page once.
And then AJ came out and said, “Oh, you should pay your athletes” and streamed our show live for free on his Facebook page…what are we going to pay them from, AJ, if you’re siphoning that revenue, instead of posting on your personal Instagram saying, “Guys, we should actually buy Metamoris in order to be able to pay the athletes.”
Agazarm wasn’t the only name Ralek called out, either. EBI’s eponymous founder, Eddie Bravo, was also a target of his criticisms:
I was villainized. So there was a couple of instances where, in the media and in the spotlight, and through that process, Eddie Bravo came out and said, “Oh, you sabotaged my event.” That’s Eddie Bravo being a vampire, trying to take energy from Metamoris, which he was extremely jealous of at the time, and it’s just the reality.
Yet even though Ralek has fallen into the role of the villain, he hasn’t let it dampen his spirits. He’s happy about what he has sacrificed and accomplished for his family’s art:
That’s why you’ll see me, and I’m smiling. I’m living my life, I’m moving forward, I don’t have regrets, I’m not feeling like, “Oh my God, I let people down, I didn’t do this, I didn’t do that.” No, the athletes who got paid, they know they got paid way more than they should have been paid because I was saying, “Man, let’s try to get these guys really hyped. Let’s get them the support they need.”
Furthermore, Ralek has not forgotten about his debts. Indeed, even if he wanted to, the combat sports world surely wouldn’t let him. And while he did not want to reveal how much he owed, he confirmed that he was going to use the money from his Youtube drama series The Foundation to pay his athletes.
Check out my interview with Ralek Gracie below: