Photo: Ron Tripp and a Sambo match between Rickson and Rolls Gracie.
The great Rickson Gracie claimed to have been unbeaten in BJJ, Wrestling, Sambo, challenge matches, Judo and vale tudo fights with 400-0 record has been disputed by many people.
Rickson like many other Gracies cross trained in other grappling arts with his brother Rolls who 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.
Rickson’s older brother Relson Gracie was asked a few years ago by Tatame magazine what he thought about his brother controversial 400-0 fight record.
It’s not that I think it isn’t true. Rickson had these fights without a doubt. He had fights in gyms, challenges. We know he’s got some 13 fights in Japan Vale Tudo and two with Zulu. The Hugo Duarte one was a fight, but he has 400 street fights. He included the fights of Sambo, included training in the academy, championship, which they call a fight, but they are not fighting, they are training. Fights were 14 or 15 in Japan Vale Tudo, and a couple more in Brazil. He made two with Zulu and a 14 in Japan that were considered fights in the arena. The rest is all practice. It’s what my father said. I’m not saying that Rickson did not have the 400 fights, he had the 400, but in this kind of fight, my father had 5000. My father had a much larger market to prove. My father did more tests than Rickson did!
Helio Gracie also disputed Rickson’s claim to have had over 400 fights. According to Hélio, Rickson has only competed in fights that are commonly known and reported: the two against Rei Zulu and those that took place in Japan. Helio Gracie alleged that Rickson uses practice and amateur bouts to obtain a number over 400, and that if he counted his fights like Rickson does, he would have in excess of one million.
At the 1993 U.S. Sambo Championships in Norman, Oklahoma, Rickson Gracie faced World Sambo Champion Ron Tripp. Tripp threw Gracie to the canvas by “Uchi mata” in 47 seconds, thus giving Tripp “absolute” victory under FIAS International Sambo rules. Rickson disputed this loss, claiming he was misinformed of the rules of the event despite claiming to be a 2 time Pan American Sambo Champion.
Ron Tripp is a World Sambo and Judo champion and the current general secretary of USA Judo. He is also a member of the board of directors of the United States Olympic Committee.
His name is well known in the MMA world, especially among Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and submission grappling enthusiasts, as he is the only person to hold an official victory in competition over Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu legend Rickson Gracie. Tripp was promoted to 10th degree in Sambo in 1995 and became America’s first Merited and Distinguished Master of Sport in 1996. He was promoted to 6th dan by USA Judo in November 2006.
The 6 foot, 205 pound Tripp excelled in both the sports of Judo and Sambo. Trained by Pat Burris, 2 time Judo Olympian and Olympic Judo Coach, Tripp’s fight career in judo lasted from 1982 to 1995. He is also a Doctor of Chiropractic and was an assistant wrestling coach at the University of Oklahoma under Hall of Fame Coach Stan Abel from 1979-1992. Tripp trained in Japan for six years, and during that time trained under World Judo Champion Chonosuke Takagi at NichiDai University, home of MMA star and Olympic Champion Makoto Takimoto and 2 Time All Japan Judo Champion June Konno. In 2006 he founded C3Fights, a professional MMA company, and still personally trains C3Fighters at the USA Stars Training Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and coaches and corners UFC Fighters Joe “Daddy” Stevenson and Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard at UFC events.
In 1990, Tripp was submitted by Rigan Machado in 39 seconds, at the Sambo Pan Am finals.
There is no actual footage of the Ron Tripp vs Rickson match but here is a video of Rickson winning in a Sambo competition in the US. You can see that he is also wearing the same multi colored swimming shorts that he wore in his beach fight vs Hugo Duarte.