Last weekend brothers Rolles & Igor (sons of the legendary Rolls Gracie) and their half brother Gregor Gracie all participated in wrestling exhibition matches in New York at the Grapple at the Garden event.
The Gracies didn’t do too bad. Gregor Gracie won his wrestling match(freestyle) via decision over Darryl Christian, a very accomplished Greco-Roman wrestler.
Rolles Gracie lost via decision to Mo Lawal 15-6 and Igor Gracie lost via decision to Brennan Ward.
Rolles has been training wrestling for years, and had this to say to Bloodyelbow in an interview:
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.
Mo Lawal had this say about his opponent Rolles Gracie:
I commend Rolles for even trying to wrestle, because you don’t see too many jiu-jitsu guys willing to step out of their element like this. Most of the time, you see wrestlers trying to learn jiu-jitsu, going to Abu Dhabi and Metamoris, but you rarely see a black belt step into Greco-Roman or freestyle wrestling. He definitely has some nuts to be doing this, I’ll give him that. That said, I’m still gonna smash him [laughs]
This is not the first time that members of the Gracie family have competed in wrestling.
In the late 70’s and 80’s in Brazil, Rolles’ father, Rolls Gracie, who was known as the first Gracie to cross train in other grappling arts such as judo, wrestling or sambo, competed regularly in these arts.
Rolls was the family’s most accomplished wrestler. Rolls actually trained under 5 time US Wrestling champ Bob Anderson. The keylock ‘Americana’ is named after Anderson who used that move a lot. Anderson lived at Rolls house in Rio for months teaching him wrestling.
In 1979, Rolls competed at the Pan American competition in Sambo, and he won double gold (in his weight and in the absolute division).
Rolls tried to integrate the Brazilian national wrestling team with the goal of to competing at the Moscow Olympics but was unsuccessful. in 1980, a Gracie team which consisted of Rolls, Carlos Jr, Rickson, Maurico Motta Gomes (Roger Gracie’s dad) and Marcio Stambowsky (Neiman Gracie’s dad) participated in the wrestling Pan Ams. Rolls came third and most of the Gracies medaled.
Gracies that grew up in the USA also wrestled. Brothers Ryron, Rener and Ralek Gracie all wrestled in high school. Rener went even as far as qualifying for the prestigious masters tournament in California.