Gracie states his love for MMA while calling competitive grappling “boring.”
Competitive grappling is a niche sport that doesn’t excite everyone. Still, it may be unexpected to many for a member of the Gracie family line to use the word “boring” as a descriptor. That didn’t stop Bellator 185 competitor, Neiman Gracie, from saying as much as he heads into Friday’s bout.
“I don’t like fighting BJJ that much,” Gracie said while speaking on the Sherdog Radio Network. “BJJ was something that I always like to compete, to do, but my dream was to fight MMA. I don’t like the rules, I think it’s boring. I love MMA, man. It’s a beautiful sport. I want to test myself and see what happens.”
At 6-0, only good things have come from Gracie’s time in the cage. He’s set to fight 18-8 Zak Bucia in what will be his fifth appearance for the Bellator organization. His first two bouts took place in World Series of Fighting. In his six wins, five have come via submission.
“Growing up, my hero wasn’t Spiderman, it wasn’t Superman. It was Royce, it was Renzo,” Neiman said.. “I always watched Royce and Renzo and all my uncles and cousins fighting and I always loved it. I loved the ring. I loved the cage. This is something that I always wanted to do and I’m really happy that I’m representing.”
Along with Kron and Ralek, Neiman is perhaps the most recognizable Gracie member actively involved in mixed martial arts today. Roger Gracie, widely considered to be the best grappler of all time, recently retired from MMA a few months after announcing his retirement from competitive grappling as well. Neiman’s competitive record on the grappling front includes medals at the IBJJF World, Pan-Am Championships and NY Open events.
“MMA was my biggest dream since I was a kid. It’s my biggest focus,” Gracie said. “I hope this is another one I win by submission. I respect my opponent like I respect everybody. He’s a tough guy, but I’m going to do what I always do. I’m going to try to take him down, take his back and finish him. I hope my game plan works.”