Former UFC, Strikeforce Competitor Roger Gracie Details Difficult Battle with COVID-19

By Tristen Critchfield Apr 14, 2020

Roger Gracie recently had a scary encounter with the COVID-19 virus.

Though he is now recovered, the former UFC and Strikeforce competitor told Combate that he was very nearly hospitalized as a result of the disease.

“I got the virus, but I recovered two weeks ago,” Gracie said. “I was in very bad shape, bedridden. It’s good to talk about it, because most people don’t know what it is like, they think they won’t be affected, that it won’t get to them,” he said. “I was bedridden for 10 days, with a fever of 104 degrees and coughing. I had shortness of breath one day, but that didn’t escalate, I’m glad. I woke up in the middle of the night, my heart pounding fast, I couldn’t breathe. I called an ambulance, I actually got on. They ran the tests, called the head of medicine, and they thought it would be better if I stayed home.”

Gracie said that his girlfriend was also infected, but that they were affected differently. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt noted that his fever, which came and went, was the most difficult aspect of his condition.

“I got scared when it didn’t get better. I got worried by Day 8, because I thought I was getting better, my fever went down,” he said. “The next day, it came back violently, I felt weak, weird. Every person feels it differently. My girlfriend got it, too, she had a fever of 102, 100 degrees for four days. She was weak, her body was aching, then it passed. My fever got up to 104. I coughed all the time. The fever is what destroys you, it gets pretty high.”

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The 38-year-old Gracie hasn’t fought professionally since May 2016, when he defeated Michal Pasternak at One Championship “Ascent to Power.” The Rio de Janeiro native went 4-1 in Strikeforce, earning victories against the likes of Anthony Smith, Keith Jardine and Kevin Randleman, before falling to Tim Kennedy in his lone Octagon appearance at UFC 162. He finished his MMA career with an 8-2 record.

Gracie, who lives in London, says his academy has been closed for a month and has transitioned to an online format. He believes sharing his struggle with coronavirus will help inform people that it doesn’t only effect the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.

“It's good for people to know that I got it. There are a lot of friends that I talked to, who thought I wouldn't get it because I was healthy, young,” he said. “A lot of people are dying. A friend of a friend in Italy was a marathon runner, was 35 years old and died. My teacher's girlfriend's cousin is 30 years old and is hospitalized. And there are thousands that we don't know. It is necessary to raise awareness. The disease really affects the most fragile, the oldest, but also other people. You cannot neglect it. It's not a joke.”

Help Prevent the Spread of the Coronavirus

Sherdog recommends all readers comply with CDC guidelines and remain as isolated as possible during this urgent time. Visit the Centers for Disease Control at or the World Health Organization at for the latest information on the coronavirus and learn what you can do to stop the spread.

The U.S. Government is providing tax relief for you due to the economic effects of the coronavirus. H&R Block helps you find out what tax savings you qualify for by clicking here.
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