UFC and Strikeforce veteran Roger Gracie has signed a multi-fight deal with the Asian MMA outfit One FC and is expected to return to the cage later this year.
On Thursday, the 33 year old grandson of Jiu Jitsu creator Carlos Gracie announced his return to MMA and revealed that he plans to compete for three to five more years before retiring. Although no contract for his first fight has been signed, Gracie was “happy with the new deal he got.” He said that he had he had already “given up fighting in MMA and had returned to Jiu Jitsu” but added that the One FC offer came along and “changed his mind.”
Fall From Gracie
Roger Gracie was one of the holdovers from the Strikeforce promotion who were absorbed by the UFC when Zuffa bought Strikeforce in 2011. He was the fourth member of the Gracie family to fight in the UFC’s Octagon. However, after a disappointing UFC 162 loss to Tim Kennedy in July of 2013, Gracie did not re-sign with the UFC and instead returned to his root in Jiu Jitsu.
According to Gracie, he did not sign with Zuffa because they wanted him to take a paycut. He went on to say that the UFC is a “monopoly” that controls the sport of MMA and that it “dictates fighter pay however it pleases.” Gracie’s sentiments were previously refuted by the Federal Trade Commission which ruled that the UFC is not a monopoly during a 2012 investigation.
Return to MMA
Gracie said that he will be fighting in light heavyweight division this time around. He admitted that the drop to middleweight in his lone UFC appearance cost him the fight against Tim Kennedy. Gracie has a 6-2 MMA record, 5 of those victories were by submission.
Gracie adds that his return to MMA won’t hinder him from competing in grappling and Jiu Jitsu competitions. Roger is a ten-time Jiu-Jitsu world champion and a former ADCC winner. He owns an impressive 65-7-1 record in Brazilian Jiu-Jistsu and submission grappling competition.
When rumors of Gracie’s MMA return surfaced, he was thought to be signing with Bellator where his former boss Scott Coker is at right now. But Gracie is now with the One FC, Asia’s premier MMA promotion. One FC was recently in the news when it was reported that Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao bought an undisclosed number of shares in the upstart corporation. The sport of MMA has drawn a lot of interest in Asia in the recent years, and the addition of a “Gracie” will add to that.