Rockson Gracie was the first of four children of MMA and BJJ legend Rickson Gracie. Rockson was considered at the time like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu’s geartest prospect in the 1990’s.
He was a purple belt and was a 3x Pan American Champion by the age of 19. He had a tragic fate…
In December of 2000, Rockson Gracie was found dead at a hotel room in New York and buried without the family being contacted since no one had his personal data. Only two months later his body was recognised. It was found in his blood a mixture of alcohol and other drugs which may have caused his death.
Gokor Chivichyan’s (Hayastan Grappling) student Manvel (Manny) Gamburyan, a UFC vet was recently asked about what happened in the infamous brawl at a Californian tournament that he was involved with 24 years ago.
Gamburyan revealed that the incident involved Rockson Gracie.
Gamburyan aentered as a white belt in one of the blue belt brackets, which also featured BJ Penn and was tearing through his division. He submitted his first 3 opponents with what he called the Armenian choke in under a minute each match. In the finals he had a tough match with Rockson Gracie from Rickson’s school. Gamburyan caught Rockson in that same Armenian choke and was cranking it tight. Rockson started bitting down on Gamburyan’s leg causing him to let up on the choke and get swept. Gamburyan caught him again with the same choke, and he again got bit. Gamburyan got mad and kicked Rockson in the head. A brawl ensued involving all the Brazilians, including some BJJ legends and Armenians at Gokor’s school.
Luckily Gene LaBell, Joe Charles, Renato Magno and a bunch of others got both sides to calm down before it got even worse.
Gamburyan talks about it more detail: