Ralek Gracie – the most controversial Gracie?
Ralek Gracie is a BJJ grappler, promoter and MMA fighter. He is a member of the famous Gracie family and is the son of Rorion Gracie. His father founded the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and is a ninth degree red belt.
Ralek is best known for founding the Metamoris grappling promotion. Since then he has gone on to become one of the most controversial people in the grappling community.
Ralek’s father Rorion moved to California in 1978 and decided to raise his family in the United States. Ralek has two older brothers Rener and Ryron, and one younger brother Reylan Gracie, as well as a sister Segina. He also has two half sisters Rose and Riane Gracie, from his father’s first marriage, and three half-brothers, Roran, Renon, and Ricon, from his father’s third marriage.
As was the case with all of his siblings Ralek Gracie was introduced to BJJ at a very young age. He grew up watching his father train people in their garage at Hermosa beach in California. He received his blackbelt from his grandfather Hélio Gracie.
In 2012 Ralek founded the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu grappling promotion Metamoris with the backing of English businessman Robert Zeps.
In terms of promotion, Metamoris was a unique grappling event. The marketing was slick and professional and the budget allowed them to attract some of the sports biggest talents. The first event featured Roger Gracie vs Buchecha in the main event.
In many ways the promotion mirrored many aspects of the UFC promotion and Ralek and his team were praised for their ambition.The next two shows were equally as impressive and featured some excellent matches. The most notable of all was the highly anticipated rematch between Eddie Bravo and Royler Gracie. The match ended in a draw but fans were treated to an exciting and fun contest.
While many people enjoyed the events, rumors began to circulate about the promotions ability to pay the fighters. Around this time many people began to wonder whether the promotion still retained the financial backing that they had at the beginning.
The evidence of the reduced cash flow was very evident in the later Metamoris cards. The bare bones productions was a far cry from the earlier events. Late venue changes, and sudden match changes were evidence that the wheels were coming off the bus. The promotion also had problems with their streaming platform. Many members were double charged for their subscriptions while others who tried to unsubscribe were still charged after leaving.
Ralek gave various excuses for the subscription debacle and the reduction in quality. He also made some very ill advised statements regarding female grappling and how it would not generate the kind of attention needed to bring in sufficient revenue.
Ralek attempted to save the promotion by announcing the Metamoris challenger series which would see grapplers compete at smaller shows and attempt to qualify for the live event. However the writing was very much on the wall for Metamoris at this stage. The challenger series never really took off and the events that did happen were poorly organized
In response to the growing criticism Ralek continued made claims about how he planned to secure loans to reimburse the fighters who had not been paid. However Ralek’s promises seemed to be empty and many people felt he had been disingenuous over the course of a number of years.
At one point his brothers and Gracie University founders Rener and Ryron felt the need to publicly distance themselves from Ralek. In a statement they condemned his behavior. They even went so far as to issue an official warning to their affiliates not to do business with him due to his repeated dishonest and fraudulent activity.
BJJ beefs and superfights
With the decline of Metamoris, Ralek Gracie found himself embroiled in a number of very public disputes. Many people in the community made fun of the promotion and his increasingly erratic behavior. The most vocal of them was AJ Agazarm who chose to stream the Metamoris 7 event on Facebook Live for free. He used the hashtag “paythefighters” in response to Ralek’s inability to settle his debts.
The main event of this card was a match between Ralek himself and Garry Tonon. Ralek used the controversy from the Metamoris as the basis for the fight promotion. In the match Tonon dominated the action and won by Kneebar.
In 2017 Ralek called out Gordon Ryan in a match that would take place on the Metamoris 8 card. Gordon accepted the fight and tapped him with the exact technique that he had repeatedly predicted before the fight.
Ralek Gracie had his first MMA match in 2007 on the Hero promotion in Yokohama, Japan. After a successful debut he fought again in Japan in 2008 for the Dream promotion. He won by armbar.
In 2010 he traveled to Japan again to take on the legendary Kazushi Sakuraba. He won the match by decision which improved his record to 3-0.
Ralek signed for Bellator in 2016 and returned to the cage after a 7 year hiatus to face Hisaki Kato. He lost the match by unanimous decision in what was a very lackluster affair that saw almost no action from either man.
Ralek Gracie also considers himself to be a music artist. He released his first single ‘Dream World’ in 2010 which he wrote and self-produced.
He second track is entitled ‘G in a Gi’ and was released in 2017. Check out the bizarre video below.