- Full Name: Rickson Gracie
- Birthday: November 20, 1958
- Affiliation: Rickson Gracie
Regarded by numerous figures in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) – like Demian Maia, Ricardo Arona and Paulo Filho – as the best ever practitioner of BJJ, Rickson Gracie is the son of legendary martial artist Helio Gracie. Over the course of several No Holds Barred (Vale Tudo) fights in Brazil and Japan, throughout the eighties and nineties, Rickson Gracie established his family’s martial art (Gracie Jiu Jitsu) as an effective and famous style of fighting. Also, he gained further notoriety in the sport of MMA, following the release of ‘Choke’ — a film documentary about his life.
Rickson was born in Brazil in 1958. At the age of four, he started competing in martial arts tournaments. At the age of fifteen, he became a martial arts teacher and at eighteen he gained his black belt. When he was twenty, he beat the well known Brazilian wrestler Rei Zulu, who weighed 230 pounds. After this win, he received national recognition as the country’s best freestyle combat athlete. Half a decade later, Zulu asked for a rematch – but lost to Rickson for a second time, in front of an audience of twenty-thousand people.
Rickson received an invitation to compete in a Japanese tournament in 1994. This eight man tournament, known as the ‘Vale Tudo Japan’, had a big cash prize. Therefore, Rickson accepted the invitation, aiming to promote the legacy of his family further afield. He won the tournament convincingly, submitting every opponent in one evening.
Rickson agreed to face respected fighter Nobuhiko Takada in 1997, at the Japanese Pride One event. This fight took place in front of forty-seven thousand people at the Tokyo Dome. Rickson beat Takada in under five minutes, mounting him then locking him in an armbar. At the Pride Four event in 1998, Rickson rematched Takada and submitted him via armbar once again. Yoji Anjo, who was one of Takada’s students, traveled to the Rickson Gracie Academy in California shortly after this, and issued a challenge to Gracie. The two men fought there and then at the academy, and Rickson gave his challenger a severe, one sided beating.
Rickson Gracie’s final fight was supposed to be against Kasushi Sakuraba, who had beaten every Gracie fighter he had faced. However, Rickson’s son, Rockson Gracie, tragically died – leaving Rickson grief stricken and unable to commit to training for a long time. In 2014, Rickson appeared as the figurehead of a Jiu Jitsu organization called the Global Jiu Jitsu Federation.