Being a Gracie pretty much guarantees that you'll have grappling embedded in your genetic code. Sometimes, a forward thinking member (not that other Gracie's aren't forward-thinking, but we're focusing on Rolles in this post) will go the extra mile and incorporate an extra dose of another style in with their repertoire to advance their game.
Rolles Gracie is one of those forward-thinking Gracies. He's been training with the focus on wrestling for quite some time now, and ahead of his scheduled mat appointment with Muhammed Lawal at today's Grapple at the Garden event, it should come in handy.
Bloody Elbow spoke with Rolles recently, who discussed the need for a fighter's association and his foray into wrestling. Here's what he had to say:
Embracing the Grind
Madison Square Garden is the mecca of fighting, and I'm honored to be able to compete in a place like that. Because of MMA, I've been training wrestling for quite a while now. I was originally just focusing on the takedown part. My goal was solely to clinch and take the person down. My coach thought that my brother and I should compete in wrestling more. This year we had a chance to compete at an event in New York, a FILA event, and we went to Brazil to compete at another FILA event there.
I like the experience. It's something new for me and I see it as a new challenge. Of course I'll be facing Mo on what he does best. He's a world class wrestler, but I feel like I'm up to the challenge.
In my personal opinion, the biggest problem is not the UFC, it's the fighters. They let an organization take advantage of them and push them around. If the fighters were united and had some sort of a union or association, things like that wouldn't happen. The organization knows that they don't have to pay them well. All they have to do is move on to another fighter.
I think it was about time for someone to start taking action against them. Those guys definitely need to be compensated better. They put on the show for the fans. If there's no fighters, there's no show. They should be treated a lot better than they actually are.
It's a complicated situation, and each person has their own interest to consider. The majority of these guys don't have any other opportunities, so they take whatever is available. This is something that needs to start at the top, with the champions. The champions need to come together to aid all the classes.
They're making a lot of money, but they need to consider their training partners and team members that aren't making that money. They should be trying to help them. If the champs would firmly put their foot on the ground and campaigned for more money for the entire class overall, I think it would be a great start.
ONE FC & WSOF
My brothers and I had an amazing time fighting for ONE FC. I love them and was very happy that Roger signed with them. It's just that the contracts with ONE FC are exclusive to Asia. When the WSOF offer came up, it was just more convenient to be able to fight over here in the US.
I would fight for them again. I had a great time over there and they treated us very well. It's a great organization and I have nothing to complain about. It was just a matter of convenience.
WSOF has treated me very well, also. They're very welcoming and offered a great deal. Ali has been honest and straightforward with us. If there was ever a situation where they couldn't meet the contracted pay, he would let us know and work with us for a solution. I have nothing to complain about with them either. They are both great organizations.
The only organization I'm not very happy with in the way they carry themselves and treat the fighters, is the UFC. The impression that I have, and I might be wrong, is that they're trying to get the most for themselves as fast as they can, because you never know what's going to happen tomorrow, and that they don't care about their fighters. Now they have this Reebok deal...man, I've only heard bad things. It seems to be only getting worse for the fighters. It's a bit of a dictatorship, in my opinion. It's about time for someone from within to start making some changes.