Ralek Gracie Joins Bellator MMA
By Edward Carbajal
In a press release Bellator MMA announced they have signed Ralek Gracie (3-0) to fight in the promotion for 2017. He is the third son of Rorion, the nephew of Royce, Rickson, and Royler Gracie and received his black belt from Grand Master Helio Gracie. The Gracie Family is famous for putting Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu on the map around the globe. It should also be noted his father co-founded the UFC and the family has deep roots with creation of the sport known as Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) today.
In his young career Gracie has two wins by submission from fighting in Japan, where many of the Gracie’s choose to begin their MMA careers. His only decision win is against Kazushi Sakuraba (26-17), the man once known as the “Gracie Hunter” and defeated both Royce and Royler in heyday of Pride Fighting Championships.
Avenging his family’s good name is only the beginning for the 31 year-old martial artist. He’s signed to a multi-year, mutli-fight contract at a weight class yet to be determined but Gracie has generally fought around 185-190 pounds so fighting in the light-heavyweight division seems the most likely.
“I was bred for hand-to-hand combat over generations and I simply can't ignore that during my physical prime. My destiny is calling me and my opponent is irrelevant, it's go time,” Gracie said. “It's crazy to see where fighting has come since my childhood of seeing everything unfold from behind the scenes. Bellator is really stepping up the opportunities fighters have to compete more often and in different countries and I'm excited to join that movement and test my style in this modern MMA era.”
If he sticks to the weight he has been fighting at, Gracie would be in the division of current light-heavy champion Liam McGeary (11-0) who faces Phil Davis (16-3) at Bellator 163 in November. Both of those potential opponents are far from being irrelevant.
The sport has evolved since the days of his uncle’s competitions but the family will always remain competitive and keep showing the relevance of what is considered one of the most necessary martial arts to make a complete fighter.