Rickson Gracie claims to have won over 450 matches in combat sports. In fact, he said it’s fair to double that figure. But more than two decades over his last official night at the office, the legendary fighter’s record continues to be disputed.
Gracie first entered a vale tudo ring in 1980, submitting Casemiro Nascimento Martins, a.k.a. “Rei Zulu,” with a rear-naked choke in Brasilia, Brazil. They met again four years later, with Gracie emerging victorious with the same technique, this time in his native Rio de Janeiro. The Brazilian star then flew across the globe to beat three opponents in one night at Vale Tudo Japan before repeating the feat a year later.
PRIDE was created in 1997 so Gracie could face Nobuhiko Takada, who went on to lose twice to the jiu-jitsu representative. Gracie’s official record stands at 11-0 following his final victory over Masakatsu Funaki in 2000, another rear-naked choke finish, but Rickson said it’s unfair to leave out many of other unofficial battles. In the end, he’d be happy with “at least” 450 victories to his credit, and zero defeats.
“Every seminar I did at the time, 100, 50, 40, 30, 20 seminars, at the end of the six-hour seminars, I’d submit everybody,” Gracie said on a recent episode of Trocação Franca. “I did a training [session]. ‘Who wants to train?’ Everybody wanted to. I submitted everybody, one after the other. And every tournament I entered after I turned 18, weight class or openweight division, I submitted every match I had and never lost. I entered luta livre tournaments back when Rolles was excited about it, I never lost either.
“Sambo tournaments in Brazil and in the United States, I also never lost. Street fights against guys that were really tough, professionals, or street fights with surfers … fights with luta livre guys, jiu-jitsu tournaments, seminars, any other situation — every time I faced an opponent, he was submitted. I never won by points. And counting very superficially, it’s at least 450 fights, so I set that as my record.”