By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
Royce Gracie will not be making a return to the Octagon in Brazil, according to UFC President Dana White.
The UFC Hall of Famer and legend caused a slight stir this week when an interview with Esporte.UOL.com hit MMA websites with him stating he was in negotiations to return to action for one fight at UFC 134 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. However, according to a report from Mike Chiappetta at MMAFighting.com, Dana White has shot down a return bout for the 44-year-old Gracie.
Gracie, the original UFC winner, and tournament winner in UFC 1, 2 and 4, hasn’t appeared in the Octagon since his loss to Matt Hughes at UFC 60. He also hasn’t fought since 2007, and the UFC is not interested in giving him a slot on this card, coming to the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro on August 27.
That card will be headlined by the UFC Middleweight Championship bout between Anderson Silva and Yushin Okami.
Penick’s Analysis: Though I would have understood Gracie being given one more fight to close out his career, this is the right move. It will have been more than four years since his last fight by the time this event comes around, and with how badly he was beaten by Hughes in his last UFC fight, it was hard to think of who they possibly could have gotten for him to fight. While wanting to be on this card is understandable, he’s simply well beyond needing to be in the cage. Today’s age of fighter is simply on another level than when he introduced the world to Gracie Jiu Jitsu through the first several UFC events, and though he’s a legend for a reason, he doesn’t need to be in the cage in 2011.