Roger Gracie: The Unlikely Heir

By Jack Encarnacao

Roger Gracie Gomes is a Gracie, but he did not grow up training in his father’s gym.

He did not know since he was a boy that he would compete in jiu-jitsu. He lives in England with his Polish wife, far from his Brazilian kin. He has never felt thrust into a position to defend the family name, which he has through his mother, Reila Gracie, who split from his father, Rolls Gracie black belt Mauricio Motta Gomes, when he was 5.

Everything the 29-year-old has done in jiu-jitsu, he chose to do.

“Every other Gracie who did well in the family, he had always trained in his father’s school, his father supported him a lot, pushed him for years,” Gracie tells Sherdog.com in a telephone interview from his London home. “I never had that because my father never had his school. Even though he was a great jiu-jitsu fighter and was really good in his time, he never taught. It was harder in a way, but I got to make my own decision. It was, like, up to me to push myself more.”

 

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