Gracie Magazine (more on this later!), and came across some interesting quotes from the infamous, immortal Rickson Gracie (considered by many to not only be the greatest Gracie of all time, but perhaps the greatest grappler of all time!) that have me torn about two of my personal hero's!
In issue #141 (Dec. 08) in two different parts of the magazine, Rickson offers the following quotes:
"It would be a dream come true to end my career fighting Sakuraba. He has that nickname (Gracie Hunter) and I have to live with that caught in my throat. He hasn't fought me yet and so shouldn't be using it. He's asking for it. But as we don't have all that we desire yet, I can only hope the promoters manage to put together the right conditions to get us together in the ring. If not, so be it." (May 08)
"I don't see myself getting in the ring anymore. Unless there's some nut ready to pay what I am asking (laughs)." (Oct 08)
It is rumored that Rickson has asked for a purse in excess of several million dollars to fight, which he has neither admitted, nor denied! Obviously if this is true, that is way rediculous in terms of MMA fight purses!
Kazushi Sakuraba has earned the monicker "Gracie Hunter" by tearing through the Gracie family (Royler, Renzo, Ryan, Royce) in MMA fights throughout the 90's and into the 00's in Pride FC. He went unbeaten until a re-match with Royce on June 2, 07 where Royce landed a decision win!
So this leaves me torn! Those who know me, know that I am a HUGE Sakuraba fan, and I also hold Rickson in the highest of regard considering him a modern day Samurai! But the Gracie ego seems to shine through with these comments. IF Rickson truly wanted to set the record straight once and for all, especially if it was family pride on the line, don't you think he would do anything to make it happen?? Surely this would be a fight to be remembered if any organization put it together. Money would not be an issue. Though I doubt any promoter could afford the millions of dollars Rickson wants!
But that is my point, why not put it all on the line! Both fighters are way past there prime, so there is no clear advantage there. Both fighters (say) they want the fight to happen, but always blame promoters for lack of motivation to make it happen. So what is the real deal??? It seems like Rickson contradicts himself by saying on one hand it is a "dream come true.." to make the fight happen, and then turn around and state (in a joking manner) that no one can afford him!!??
I am all about fighters making a living and getting paid what they deserve, but it seems to me that much of the Gracie "familial pride" is centrally focused on the potential financial gain one stands to accrue, and not the "honor" of the family like they are always claiming.
I do not have any "inside" sources, so I cannot elaborate on the truth of the matter. And in reality the only people who know the truth are Rickson and Sakuraba! This is merely a thought based on quotes that I read in the same issue of Gracie magazine.