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Royce Gracie called Dana White before accepting Bellator gig

Three-time UFC tournament champion and Bellator ambassador, Royce Gracie talks about his job at Bellator MMA, the new generation of Gracie fighters in MMA and looks back at his own career.

Royce Gracie
Royce Gracie
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The only man to ever win three UFC tournaments, Royce Gracie, is considered a legend in the sport by almost all MMA fans. Recently, Gracie has also signed with rival promotion, Bellator MMA to be the ambassador of their brand, which raised a lot of eyebrows and questions about his relationships with the UFC.

Royce, however, said Dana White was fine with it right from the start, as he told ESPN Brasil.

"When Bellator called me, I called Dana White right after. He told me to do what I had to do. He said I should go ahead. Bellator needed someone to help promote their show all over the world. Since I am one of the most well-known guys in the sport, the one who created it and son of Helio Gracie, I'm not only helping to expand the brand, but I have also been talking to the fighters. I have been teaching them that what they do outside of the cage also affects their careers".

When asked what his favorite current MMA fighters are, Royce didn't name any names, but insisted he's always keen on the ones who fight smart.

"I like guys who know how to implement a strategy. The ones who make a fight look easy. But there's no easy fight, even if you win in 30 seconds, that only means you were able to execute your strategy correctly and induced your opponent to make a mistake. Those are the champions. That's why they are the champions".

He also had something to say about the new wave of Gracie fighters who are just beginning their MMA careers recently, like Kron and Neiman.

"We are here to stay. We are not a family we are a factory. There's so many of us. Renzo is always training someone new at his gym".

Finally, when asked if he ever thinks of competing again, be it jiu-jitsu, MMA or submission grappling tournaments, Royce remained enigmatic.

"It hasn't crossed my mind, but I wouldn't say no. But I wouldn't do a single thing differently throughout my career, if I could go back. Even the results, I wouldn't change a thing".

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