Gracie cousins won’t meet in Octagon
There’s no beef among the Gracies. And a Renzo vs. Royce fight in the UFC? It’s probably not in the cards.
Two of the most well-known members of MMA’s most famous family exchanged some harsh words recently. Royce criticized the younger Gracies for recent losses back in September to MMAFighting.com. Renzo, who trains Rolles, Nieman and Roger in New York, responded this week on MMAFighting.com’s “The MMA Hour” by saying Royce can’t criticize because he doesn’t “help the Gracie family” by training the kids.
Renzo, though, told Fox Sports there are no hard feelings. In fact, he’s in Los Angeles this weekend for a Brazilian jiu-jitsu seminar with other Gracies, including Royce. He plans on talking to Royce on Saturday.
“I’m like this with everybody,” Renzo said. “If I can’t say that kind of stuff to my family, then who can I say it to?”
Renzo, 46, has openly stated that he plans to return to fighting and he maintained that he wants to be back in the cage before the end of 2014. But that opponent will not likely be Royce, the first-ever UFC champion. Renzo says Royce, who is the same age as him, is booked up every weekend for the next two years with seminars and has no time to train for a bout. Not that Renzo would be interested in fighting his cousin anyway.
“I don’t see any reason to fight him,” Renzo said. “Look at the 155-pound division. In reality, so many people are at the top of their game now. Why would I be looking to fight someone in my own family?”
Don’t get it twisted, though. Renzo isn’t ducking Royce. While Royce is known for being a pioneer for Brazilian jiu-jitsu and MMA as a whole, Renzo’s heart and toughness have always been his trademark.
“The only person I wouldn’t fight is my mother,” Renzo said with a laugh.
Royce’s biggest critique with the younger members of the clan are that they have forgotten their roots when “jiu-jitsu is enough.”
"I’ve trained boxing in the past to learn the distance, trained wrestling to understand how he would take me down, but I won’t get there to fight my opponent’s game,” Royce said. “The (new) guys (from the Gracie) family want to complement their game, like if jiu-jitsu was incomplete. I guess they forgot a little about history."
Renzo, whose academy in Manhattan has classes in all aspects of MMA, told Ariel Helwani on “The MMA Hour” that Royce isn’t in a position to criticize, because he isn’t in the trenches training the young guys. Royce has taken a different path.
"How can I judge someone if I don't walk on their shoes?” Renzo said. “It's their comfort zones. Unfortunately, I cannot just sit and watch. Don't judge others with harsh word on situations that you didn't try to improve them. This is the portrait of life. People will claim that we forgot who we are, that we forgot jiu-jitsu. ... We didn't forget s--t, man. We are 100% what we are. We live, eat and breathe what we do.
"Come train them, and then you're going to be able to evaluate the reality. Sometimes people move away from reality and start dreaming, and they start living in the dreamland, judging others by their dreams or believing what people tell them."
Renzo said that Royce probably asks himself every day why he hasn’t been a part of the development of the up-and-coming Gracies.
“Don’t come pointing fingers,” Renzo said. “I can talk bad about people because when they need me I'm there… I know how hard they work."