Bellator MMA continues to add UFC Hall of Famers to the roster, as Royce Gracie has been brought in as a promotional brand ambassador.
Scott Coker, president of Bellator, made the announcement on Twitter.
— Scott Coker (@ScottCoker) October 8, 2014
In a release on the Bellator website, Gracie commented, saying “I have known Scott 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.
“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 marital arts as a sport worldwide.”
Coker also made a statement, saying “To call Royce a legend would be an absolute understatement.
“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.”
Gracie will go to work on the Bellator 131 card that features fellow UFC HOFers Tito Ortiz and Stephen Bonnar in the main event, along with Michael Chandler-Will Brooks for the vacant lightweight title. His work with Bellator will include hosting seminars, being involved in autograph and promotional appearances and the push for international expansion. Co-branded merchandise will be available next year.
The 47-year-old Gracie won three tournament titles with the UFC, including at UFC 1. He was the first inductee into the hall of fame, holds the record for most tournaments won (three) and most submission wins (11), along with most wins in one night (four).
He retired following a 2007 decision win over Kazushi Sakuraba, while his last Octagon appearance came in 2006 vs. Matt Hughes. Gracie holds wins over the likes of Dan Severn, Keith Hackney, Kimo Leopoldo and Ken Shamrock during his MMA career, which saw him amass a record of 14-2-3.