If you've been a part of the grappling community long enough, or even just a keen observer, any news on an Eddie Bravo vs Royler Gracie rematch falling through should come as absolutely no surprise. Just over a week ago it looked like the ADCC rematch was on, and now its status is unknown. In this instance though, is it Bravo playing mind games or Gracie acting like a Prima Donna?
Bravo broke the following news a few days ago on his oofficial website's message boards making the first move of one-upmanship against his Brazilian rival:
I just got off the phone with vice president of ADCC Guy Nievens (sic) and he told me that Royler just called him and is now asking for 50k just to show up plus the 25k win bonus.
I have no idea why he's now asking for all that cash up front all of a sudden, 5 days after agreeing to the rematch and after doing interviews for Atame and Gracie Mag saying that "Lightning doesn't strike the same place twice".
ADCC is refusing to pay the 50k show money.
So my business manager is gonna set up a Royler relief paypal account asap. If 5,000 people donate just $10 the rematch is on.
The article Bravo is referring to was published on the GracieMag blog based on a phone conversation with Gracie and GracieMag a week ago:
"Even though he beat me, every now and again I catch word that Eddie Bravo wants to go again," said Royler. Perhaps Bravo wants a sequel to prove it was no fluke. "So I'll let him have a rematch," said the Gracie, jokingly.
The match contract hasn't been signed, but to Royler it's a done deal: "I spoke with Renzo yesterday and the folks in Abu Dhabi really want to put together these two matchups, so I feel it will go through. I've never been out of shape, but it's always nice to have a good reason to train hard; it's a match a lot of folks have been asking for and one I'd like to do too."
Now about his match with Bravo, might Royler fear having another lapse and getting blindsided with another submission? Royler was quick to respond: "Lightning never strikes twice in the same place, nor kills the same horse."
But it doesn't end there. Yesterday GracieMag posted an update to the ADCC 2011 participants and in its opening paragraph dismissed Bravo's claim:
"Don’t be fooled by the rumor-mongering: Royler Gracie still very much wants to face Eddie Bravo in the superfight announced for ADCC 2011 in Nottingham, England. We’re still waiting on more about that."
And today, Bravo responds via his forums while rescinding his offer:
I decided against the Royler fund, if he doesn't wanna do it then I'm not gonna try to humiliate him by raising the money myself, it's a dick move and I don't wanna be a dick. But based on what GracieMag is reporting now, I think it might happen anyways, we'll see....
At the moment all we have is Bravo's Word vs Gracie's Word (and let's face it, a publication called GracieMag is as good as a Gracie proxy as you can get) and neither scenario is a particularly good one. Either Bravo is trolling as he has a history of doing such as setting up mock websites or even punk'ing his jiu jitsu class with staged altercations, or Gracie is either living up to his family tradition of demanding stipulations for matches or possibly making an unreasonable demand as a way of backing out of the match while attempting to save face. Having said that we don't know how much Bravo is getting for his participation in the match either and it might be a pathetic attempt by Bravo at smearing Royler's name.
I'm leaning toward Gracie possibly ducking out because I'd like to think Bravo hasn't made the serious mistake of name dropping the ADCC Vice President just to try and get in Gracie's head and make himself look good by comparison - although we can't rule out the possibility Bravo may have been foolish enough to do just that. I've contacted Guy Neivens to comment on the situation and will make an update should he get back to me.