Royce Gracie's name has been firmly embedded into the history of Mixed Martial Arts. That is not a question.
What is a question is whether Gracie should be allowed to fight in the UFC in here in 2011.
Gracie's last fight in 2007 against Kazushi Sakuraba was hardly an impressive outing, and Gracie's controversial decision win was tarnished by an off-the-charts positive steroid test.
While Gracie has denied steroid use, most observed Gracie to be looking more ripped than usual, and more than 10 pounds heavier than he was just a year earlier against Matt Hughes.
That fight against Matt Hughes, was perhaps even less encouraging. Matt Hughes dominated Gracie in every way possible en route to a first-round stoppage.
Before that, Gracie was beaten up by a much lighter Hideo Tokoro in a fight that was only a draw due to the lack of judges.
By the time the UFC event in Rio kicks off, it will have been more than four years since Gracie last fought.
One for Old Times' Sake?
Now there are some nostalgic people out there who would love to see Gracie fight one more time so that we can all remember the good old days.
But that's why we have DVDs.
Moreover, the truth is that the last years of Gracie's career were already nothing more than a nostalgic sendoff.
He's already fought his novelty fight against Akebono, his nostalgia fights against Sakuraba and Ken Shamrock, and his torch-passing fight against Hughes. What fight is left?
Who Would He Actually Fight?
If the UFC actually wants to have Gracie fight in a competitive fight, they're going to have to dig deep.
There probably isn't a fighter on the current roster at 155 pounds or above who Gracie could even be competitive against, outside of maybe a TUF 12 veteran who the UFC hasn't bothered cutting yet.
Bringing Gracie to fight in the modern UFC is the MMA equivalent of dragging out a Model T to a NASCAR event.
If the UFC did manage to find someone for Gracie to fight, the result would hardly be entertaining stuff worthy of television or Pay-Per-View..
Why Does Royce Gracie Even Want To Fight?
On the one hand, Gracie's desire to fight might be a way for him to stroke his own ego. On the other hand, it could just be an attempted cash grab.
Either way, it's unnecessary and no good will come of it.
It's not that a fight today would tarnish Gracie's legacy, but it would be a colossal waste of money, time, and PPV card space.
If Royce Gracie wants to be a part of the UFC's foray into Rio, the UFC should let him do so.
Make Gracie a part of the UFC Fan Expo.
Have him sit cageside while Anderson Silva defends his belt against Yushin Okami.
Just don't let him back into the Octagon.
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