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#54 Rorion Gracie

Early in life Rorion Gracie had a mission to spread Jiu Jitsu to the world and he did just that. First by coming to the United States and teaching Jiu Jitsu out of his garage, then by teaching it at his academy, and then by creating the vehicle that arguably had the biggest impact on modern martial arts, The Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Raised by the man who literally wrote the book on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, his father Helio Gracie, Rorion was training Jiu Jitsu for as long as he can remember. Growing up he trained and fought daily with his brothers, learning the real Jiu Jitsu lifestyle of never quitting, and always finding a solution to whatever problem arose, whether on or off the mats.

In his late teens, Rorion came to the United States for what was supposed to be a month-long vacation. After having all his money and return plane ticket stolen, Rorion called his father, but instead of asking for help, he used his Jiu Jitsu mindset to figure out his problem. He told Helio he was having too good a time in America to return to Brazil and wanted to extend his trip. Helio agreed to let him stay in America and Rorion then began doing whatever he could to earn the money needed to get back home to Brazil.

After a year in the U.S., he returned to Brazil to continue his education but could not think of anything but returning to America. During his second trip to America Rorion did whatever was needed to establish himself in his new homeland. Living and working in Hollywood, it wasn't long before he found himself as an extra in both television and film. In the film industry, Rorion would make lifelong friendships that would eventually turn into business partnerships. At this time he was also teaching Jiu Jitsu, trying to prove to the world that the martial art his father passed down, was the ultimate form of self-defense. Rioron was proving Jiu Jitsu was a superior form of combat through challenge matches but he realized he needed to do something on a grander scale. This is when the seeds of what would become The Ultimate Fighting Championship were born.

In 1992, Rorion along with two of his students, business executive Art Davie and filmmaker John Milius, began planning what would become the UFC. They were able to put together a contest pitting fighters from different martial arts backgrounds against a Jiu Jitsu fighter to once and for all determine what style of fighting was the best. Rorion picked his younger brother Royce to represent the Gracie family in this contest and Royce got the job done, defeating all three of his opponents including future UFC Hall of Fame Inductee, Ken Shamrock.

Rorion changed his mission in life after the UFC to promoting good health through not only Jiu Jitsu but also the Gracie Diet which was developed over 60 years by his uncle Carlos Gracie. Rorion's efforts to spread Jiu Jitsu to the world have certainly paid off. Jiu Jitsu is practiced the world over and is one of the fastest-growing sports on earth.


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