When the Ultimate Fighting Championship had its first event—UFC 1: The Beginning—on November 12th of 1993, the event’s main objective was to put on display the world’s martial traditions in an effort to determine which discipline was the truest to its practitioner when it came down to a real fight. The Gracies, the family behind the operation, had for years defended and proved the efficacy of their patriarch Hélio’s gentle art in sanctioned events as well as on the streets of Brazil.
In the UFC, the Gracies put up Royce to carry the family’s torch. At UFC 1, Royce submitted Art Jimmerson, Ken Shamrock and Gerard Gordeau. He finished Shamrock with a rear-naked-choke in 57 seconds. At UFC 2, Royce submitted Minoki Ichihara, Jason DeLucia, Remco Pardoel and Patrick Smith. The latter he did with punches. At UFC 3, he finished Kimo Leopoldo with an armbar. At UFC 4 he submitted Ron Van Clief, Keith Hackney and Dan Severn.
At UFC 5, on April 7th, 1995, he faced Ken Shamrock again for the UFC Superfight Championship. The fight went on for a record 36:00 minutes, and ended in a draw due to a lack of judges. Royce’s record then onwards lost its steam, scoring three wins, two losses and two draws. His last win was versus Kazushi Sakuraba, in 2007. He tested positive for anabolic steroids following that fight.
Fast forward to 2015, twenty years or so after Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie last faced each other. Royce is still retired, although very much an emblem of the sport visible throughout the community in various forms. Ken, on the other hand, has made a return to professional mixed martial arts, signing with Scott Coker’s Bellator promotion. He faces Kimbo Slice at Bellator 138 this upcoming June 20th.
That’s not his only plan, however, for this post-retirement renaissance. Ken Shamrock also thinks there is unfinished business that can only be resolved with a rematch versus Royce Gracie—he wants that rematch to happen with Royce wearing the gi. He told MMAFighting.com that Royce still thinks the fight that ended in draw was a draw. It remains so in the official record, but Shamrock thinks that it “would just really be nice to be able to go back there.”
Shamrock wants Royce to wear the gi—which is currently forbidden in professional mixed martial arts—because if he doesn’t wear the gi then he’s not the real Royce Gracie. According to Shamrock, if you “beat [Royce Gracie] without the gi, you didn’t beat Royce Gracie.”
Is this a fight you would want to see?
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