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UFC Founder Art Davie Recalls the Early Days in the UFC
Posted by Jeffrey Harris on 06.19.2014

MMAjunkie Radio recently interviewed UFC founder Art Davie this week. Below are some highlights.

Davie on drama with the legendary Gracie family: "A lot of it was due to the Gracie family dynamics. I never could keep track of all the drama. They're a complicated group of alpha males, and every one of them, ultimately, was trying to impress the old man."

Davie on Rickson Gracie: "All along, I'm thinking Rickson is the family champ. He looked like a cross between Marlon Brando and Mike Tyson. He was a stud; he was a jaguar. I once took a morning exercise class with him; (now famous MMA referee) John McCarthy was in that class. It was about an hour-and-a-half long. After 45 minutes, me and every other cop from the Torrance (Calif.) police department that was in that class, we dropped out. One-legged squats? I couldn't handle it. Rickson was the stud. He had done professional fights. And at one point, Rorian says to me, ‘It's going to be Royce.' I said, ‘Royce? He's the guy who babysits your kids. He lives in a little apartment above the garage with a piranha in a hexagonal fish tank. He ain't got no checking account, no car.' I'm not even sure he had a girlfriend. Royce? He said, ‘It's going to be Royce.' He used to call me Arturo. He said, ‘Arturo, the cool thing about Royce is, he don't weigh but 176 pounds soaking wet, and my father used to weigh 140, taking down guys bigger than him. People, when they watch him do this, they're going to be amazed. Rickson, when he stares at you, you're going to fall apart.' So it was brilliant on Rorion's part in some ways."

Davie on why Rickson Gracie didn't compete in the UFC: "Rickson wanted a million dollars. He said, ‘You and Rorion are making the big bucks. I want a million dollars.' I said, ‘We ain't making that kind of money, and we ain't paying that kind of money.'"

Davie on how Rickson prepared Royce: "Rickson had really prepped Royce, so whatever the problems they had that I wasn't aware of had been put under the carpet. In a very real sense, Rickson had put his spine into Royce's back. At the show, I heard later on from Todd Hester, the publisher and editor of Gladiator Magazine, that Royce had lost it in the rehearsal. He was down on his knees crying, and Rickson was cradling him like a father. He said Rickson was holding him, like a dad holds his son, and comforting him."


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