The Gracie way is to never give up. Grandmaster Helio Gracie proved the power of Jiu Jitsu in Brazil; the ancient Japanese art he modified by adding leverage- creating his own hybrid- he called Gracie Jiu Jitsu. Helio walked the talk. Weighing only 130 pounds, Helio took on fighters of any size who thought they could beat him. This became known as “The Gracie Challenge.” Helio never lost a challenge match until later in his life when, he passed the torch of Gracie Jiu-Jistsu to his six sons.
Helio’s dream was to make Gracie Jiu Jitsu available to every man as a form of self-defense-- it was his life’s purpose. But, the family knew that to make it on a world stage you had to first make it in America. They took the Brazilian no-holds-barred fighting contest called Vale Tudo to America- creating the first ever UFC in 1993.
Through the perspective of Royce Gracie, the film follows the Gracie family as they fight their way through the favela’s and beaches of Rio to the streets of America- as immigrants, struggling to survive, to build the Gracie name, and to prove the supremacy of their fighting style. Following his older brother Rorion to America as a teenager, Royce fought to prove himself to his family.
Royce’s brother Rickson was the mostly likely candidate to compete in UFC 1, he was a ferocious fighter undefeated in Brazil. He was bigger and stronger than Royce. But the family chose Royce to represent the family. Royce, though mostly untested in competitive fighting was the “everyman” the family needed to prove the supremacy of their fighting style.
Royce brought into the octagon heart, courage and the trust of his father and brothers. And, with the support of his family and his American wife Marianne, he won UFC 1 facing the world’s toughest fighters including the unbeatable Ken Shamrock.
Royce Grace and Gracie Jiu Jitsu revolutionized martial arts as we know it today. Gracie is the inside story of Royce Gracie’s rise from underdog to legend. A man Sports Illustrated named one of the greatest 100 athletes in history.