Very few people alive can say they helped invent a sport, but Royce Gracie can; his contribution to MMA was paramount in making it what it is today. The UFC and Anchor Bay Entertainment have paid tribute to him by releasing Ultimate Royce Gracie. This two disc set not only tells Royce’s story, it tells the Gracie’s story and how one family paved the way for the world’s fastest growing sport.
In this documentary, the origins of Gracie Jiu Jitsu are explained, by a series of interviews with Gracie family members and their biographer Kid Peligro. How Royce’s father Helio became a national icon in Brazil by defeating all comers in the Gracie Challenge, which eventually lead to the conception of the UFC.
When Rorion Gracie took BJJ to American soil, he set the wheels in motion by circulating home videos-which is a highlight of the documentary- of Gracies(including Royce) defeating black belts of all styles in their academy in California. It was from there he and promoter, Art Davie decided to put the first UFC together.
All the early UFC cards are shown here, with commentary from Royce, Dan Severn, Ken Shamrock and Art JImeson. Watching the footage of UFC 1 in Denver, it’s amazing to see how much the sport has changed, what is more amazing is how little the world saw Royce Gracie coming , all 178lbs of him.
Listening to Royce recall how he won the UFC 1 and 2 is a privilege and would be beneficial to any young fighter interested in learning the tactics behind grappling. Also interesting, is listening to Dan Severn recall his bout with Royce at the Finals at UFC 4, and how an attack of conscience prevented him from posturing up on Royce and pounding him to oblivion, only to be choked out himself.
Royce’s super fight with Matt Hughes at UFC 60 is another highlight, as you see the evolution of the sport through his eyes. The more complete Hughes was able to use Gracie technique with wrestling power to beat him, which was a victory in itself to the Gracie legacy.
There are interviews with UFC alum; Matt Sera, GSP, Kenny Florian and Matt Hughes recalling their “I remember where I was” moments of the first time they saw Royce Gracie in action, and how it compelled them to learn BJJ. Dana White and Joe Rogan also pay tribute to Royce and Gracie Jiu Jitsu, and how all in MMA are indebted to him.
The Bonus features are pretty cool; Disc one has all of Royce’s bouts at UFC 1 and 2. Disc two has the best of his fights in Pride, including his first loss to Kazushi Zacharabi, the longest bout in modern MMA history, lasting ninety minutes. His fight with Matt Hughes and his induction into the UFC Hall Of Fame is also included.
This is a must have for anyone who loves MMA, particularly for those fans who were not even born when Royce Gracie shocked the world.
It is available at ufc.com for $29.99 and worth every penny!
Tags: DVD review, Mixed Martial Arts, MMA, Royce Gracie, UFC