Royce Gracie became known as one of the most dangerous men in the world as he dominated the early days of the UFC and put mixed martial arts on the map.
But it turns out the hall of famer from Brazil is also a nice guy, even if he’s not a hockey fan.
The legendary fighter is in town for UFC 129 and at Real Sport Bar & Grill earlier this week he said he’d rather be a pioneer of MMA than just starting out today even though there’s more money to be made now after the explosion of the sport’s popularity.
“I wouldn’t change a thing,” Gracie said. “Everything happened the way it was meant to happen.”
It’s been 18 years since Gracie brought his family’s brand of Brazilian jiu-jitsu to UFC 1 in Denver and shocked the martial arts world.
In those days, the UFC pitted discipline against disciple in a tournament that took place in one night, with no weight classes, no time limits, no rounds, no gloves and almost no rules.
Gracie won three fights in a row on Nov. 12, 1993 and took home $50,000.
While watching the Bruins knock the Habs out of the playoffs, Gracie said he’s not much of a hockey fan.
“I’m from Brazil,” he laughed.
He tried skating one time but it didn’t go well. And he once watched a Leafs game with legendary goalie Johnny Bower in a private box.
While he’s in Toronto, he’s promoting his newly released DVD, UFC: Ultimate Royce Gracie.
Although he’s 44, “old for this game,” fans may yet see him fight one last time.
There’s talk of a Gracie re-match with Matt Hughes, who beat him in a first round TKO in 2006, his last UFC bout.