Chances are most people immediately think of the UFC when they hear the name Royce Gracie, but from now on, it will be the latter’s job to get people talking about the promotion’s competition, Bellator MMA.
Yes, that’s right, Bellator has announced that it’s hired Graice as a “promotional ambassador” for the Viacom owned property, and that the MMA legend is going to begin promoting Bellator 131 in the coming days. Gracie’s new role will see the 47 year-old attend various Bellator related events, including autograph sessions and seminars.
Here is what Gracie and Bellator president Scott Coker had to say about the new position in the official announcement:
“I have known Scott for a long time and have always respected him as not only a promoter but as a martial artist who has always treated fighters with respect and truly understands their value,” Gracie said. “Bellator and Viacom want to give fans exciting fights and enable fighters to continue to grow and most importantly provide for their family, and it’s something I want to be a part of. UFC has done a great job over the past twenty years in building this sport and taking it globally and I’m glad to have been part of that, but Bellator is a growing organization I am honored to be a part of, and with the dedicated and talented people already associated with the company, we can further the growth of mixed marital arts as a sport worldwide.”
“To call Royce a legend would be an absolute understatement,” Bellator President Scott Coker said. “Royce and the Gracie family are directly responsible for making this sport what it is today and we are incredibly fortunate to have him be a part of the Bellator family. Royce will serve in many different capacities for Bellator and I look forward to our fighters, staff and most importantly, our fans, in having the chance to interact with one of the most iconic figures in sports.”
Gracie blew thousands of peoples minds in 1993 by going on to win the first ever, UFC. The Brazilian went undefeated in his first 12 pro MMA bouts, before he was stopped by Kazushi Sakuraba at a PRIDE event in 2000.