Royce Gracie is now working for Bellator MMA. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Royce Gracie has become the latest UFC Hall of Famer to join Bellator MMA.
The promotion revealed on Wednesday that Gracie has joined Bellator as the organization’s “official brand ambassador.” According to a release, Gracie’s duties include promoting events, hosting seminars as well as autograph sessions and other appearances.
In addition, Gracie will aid Bellator’s international expansion, and the fighter and promotion will join forces for a co-branded merchandise line set to debut in 2015.
“I have known [Bellator President Scott Coker] for a long time and have always respected him as not only a promoter but as a martial artist who has always treated fighters with respect and truly understands their value,” Gracie said. “Bellator and Viacom want to give fans exciting fights and enable fighters to continue to grow and most importantly provide for their family, and it’s something I want to be a part of.
“UFC has done a great job over the past 20 years in building this sport and taking it globally, and I’m glad to have been part of that, but Bellator is a growing organization I am honored to be a part of, and with the dedicated and talented people already associated with the company, we can further the growth of mixed martial arts as a sport worldwide.”
Along with Gracie, UFC Hall of Famers Randy Couture, Tito Ortiz and Stephan Bonnar have worked or are working for Bellator in some capacity. Couture coached on the promotion’s short-lived “Fight Master” reality show, while Ortiz and Bonnar are set to square off at Bellator 131 on Nov. 15.
Gracie rose to prominence in the Octagon, winning one-night tournaments at UFC 1, 2 and 4. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner also had a memorable 90-minute affair with Kazushi Sakuraba under the Pride Fighting Championships banner.
“To call Royce a legend would be an absolute understatement,” Coker said. “Royce and the Gracie family are directly responsible for making this sport what it is today, and we are incredibly fortunate to have him be a part of the Bellator family. Royce will serve in many different capacities for Bellator, and I look forward to our fighters, staff and most importantly, our fans, in having the chance to interact with one of the most iconic figures in sports.”
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