Why are the New Generation of the Gracie Family Not Dominating in MMA & Jiu-Jitsu Anymore?

Why are the New Generation of the Gracie Family Not Dominating in MMA & Jiu-Jitsu Anymore?

If you train Jiu-Jitsu or even MMA it is because of the Gracie family.

The Gracie were the ones who popularized MMA and Jiu-Jitsu to the masses when they created the UFC back in 1993 in the US. Legendary names such as Helio, Carlson, Rolls, Rickson, Royce or Renzo Gracie all defended the Gracie name with great success in the sport.

In Jiu-Jitsu, the greatest of all time is considered to be Roger Gracie with 12 black belt world titles.

Despite all of this, the new generation of the Gracie family are not dominating MMA and jiu-jitsu like their predecessors.

Let’s look at Rener and Ryron Gracie, sons of Rorion. In the late 90’s they were competing all over the US and were defeating some big names from sport BJJ (Gordo, Macaco, Cassio Werneck, Lovato etc..). However, after being defeated a few times, they decided to focus more on building successful businesses than pursuing competitive fighting careers.

The Gracie University, founded by Rener and Ryron, has become one of the largest jiu-jitsu schools in the world with over 160 locations. This business focus has diverted time and energy away from full-time competitive training and fighting.

This is also the case for many other members of the Gracie family. If you are a Gracie, with a black belt and decent skills, living in America, then you don’t hav to worry about an income. There are always going to be people who will pay good money to learn Jiu-Jitsu from you.

Second, the level of competition today is significantly higher than in the early days of the UFC when Royce Gracie dominated. The sport has evolved tremendously and competitors now have better training, nutrition, technique and overall athleticism. Simply having the Gracie name is not enough in this ultra-competitive environment.

The perfect example of this is Kron Gracie, the son of the legendary Rickson Gracie, and is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt who has had success in both MMA and BJJ, earning the title of ADCC champion in submission grappling before suffering his first loss in MMA at UFC back in 2019. He recently lost to Charles Jourdain, also a BJJ black belt, by unanimous decision after lack luster performance where he didn’t throw any punches and tried to grapple, pulling guard and even butt scooting.

After this loss, he posted on Instagram that he was trying to please the BJJ community by following their advice and staying to his grappling roots.

Third, the new generation of the Gracie family have achieved financial success that reduces the need to fight for income. Royce Gracie famously fought in the early UFC events partly for the prize money. But the new generation of Gracies earns substantial revenue from their businesses, instructional videos, seminars and sponsorships. This financial comfort reduces the incentive to take the risks that come with competitive fighting.

In summary, a mix of business priorities, higher competition and financial success likely explain why Rener, Ryron are not dominating MMA and jiu-jitsu like their predecessors. The new generation of Gracies still plays an important role in promoting and teaching the techniques that made their family famous. But competitive dominance requires a singular focus that they have not pursued.