UFC News: Roger Gracie a Free Agent After UFC Opts Not to Renew His Contract

John Heinis@HeinisHardNewsSenior Analyst IAugust 5, 2013

Jan 12, 2013; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Roger Gracie enters the ring for his bout with Anthony Smith (not shown) in their Strikeforce MMA Lightweight bout at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.  Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Highly regarded Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Roger Gracie will be seeking a new employer after the UFC decided to pass on the option to renew his contract, as Combate's Ivan Raupp first reported (translation by Fighter's Only's John Joe O'Regan). 

Gracie, a 10-time World Champion in BJJ, lost a fairly one-sided decision to fellow Strikeforce import Tim Kennedy at UFC 162 last month. 

Despite bringing the fight to the mat and taking Kennedy's back in the first round, Gracie was unable to lock up a submission and the Jackson's MMA fighter was able to get back on his feet. 

From there, Kennedy was able to dictate the pace of the fight, outstriking Gracie and even taking him down and maintaining top position on a few occasions. 

Apparently, the higher-ups of the UFC were so put off by the performance that they felt Gracie didn't belong with the best fighters in the world at 185 pounds. 

The 6'4" Gracie is apparently considering returning to the light heavyweight division, believing that the weight cut to middleweight was too taxing, via BJJEE.com.  

Bellator is said to be interested in acquiring Gracie's services, according to the report, but there has not been any communication between the two parties. 

Gracie posted a 4-1 record in Strikeforce, notching three of those wins by way of submission. His only loss came at the hands of ex-promotional champ Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal. 

After competing in hundreds of Brazilian jiu-jitsu matches, Gracie made his MMA debut in December 2006 and currently has a 6-2 record inside the cage. 

Will Gracie ever be able to compete at a high level in MMA or is his best bet at being successful in combat sports sticking to the mats? 


John Heinis is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA Editor for eDraft.com.