When We Were Bouncers: Javi and Rose


Actor/stuntman/fighter Paul "The Mauler" Lazenby has a tremendous Facebook page - When We Were Bouncers. Each week he presents a crazy new story from former security personnel who went on to become actors, comedians, pro wrestlers, stuntmen, or MMA fighters.

This week Lazenby profiles Javier “Showtime” Vazquez and his wife Rose GracieJavi is a Gracie Jiu-jitsu black belt and former King of the Cage lightweight champion. In 1978 Rose's father Rorion brought Gracie Jiu-jitsu to America, and in 1993 he co-founded the UFC. As the president of Gracie Tournaments, Rose promotes events such as the Gracie Nationals, and she remains an outspoken defender of the art of Jiu-jitsu as conceived by her grandfather, the legendary Grandmaster Helio Gracie.

In this piece both Javi and Rose talk about violence in clubs.

Javi Vazquez

A while later, another riot happened after a guy ran up on a buddy of mine -- a good twenty-five or thirty foot run -- and coldcocked him from behind with this big, looping haymaker. Caught my buddy totally unaware, but he just took it and then turned around and laughed. I ran around behind my buddy’s attacker and locked one of his arms up, then picked him up off the ground, slammed him down on his shoulder, took his back, sunk the hooks in and choked him out. 

I kept the choke on after the guy was out but loosened it enough so he could breathe, but when he woke up he started fighting again. I tried to get him to calm down but he wouldn’t listen, so I put him out again. I let him wake up again and told him, “Dude, I’ve got a full choke sunk in, don’t fight me or I’m gonna put you out”, but once again he forced me to choke him [unconscious]! Three or four times I put him out, until finally he woke up crying and begging, “Please don’t do that again!” 

So I let him go and stood up. Now, I’m five-seven, and when the dude stood up he was WAY taller than me, probably six-one. I hadn’t noticed how big he was during the heat of the moment, and of course when you’re on the ground it’s hard to tell how tall someone is. But now that we were standing, you could tell that the guy was wondering, “How the hell did this little guy do that to me?” (laughs)

That’s a good example of why my philosophy was always, “Choke people first, ask questions second”, because if you know what you’re doing, you can use chokes to keep everybody safe. You can put ‘em out, drag ‘em out, and in the end they’re gonna wake up just fine. If you apply the choke right and you don’t hold it for too long, it’s the most humane way to handle violent situations where nobody’s gonna get hurt, you know? 

Rose Gracie

When I went out in Brazil, Gracie family members and students would just take over whatever club we were in. Sometimes the bouncers would be Gracie guys too, or other times our guys would just pretend to be bouncers [so they could] clear people away from tables we wanted to sit at and things like that. 

One time we were at a club in Rio where all the Jiu-jitsu guys used to hang out. I forget the name of the club because it was always changing. What they do [in Rio] is, they run a club for one or two years and then they tear it apart and build a new club with a new name, but it’s still the same place, you know? I was standing there with a big group of Gracies and Gracie students who were always at that club causing major mayhem. We would always roll in with twenty or thirty Gracies plus the students, so half the club would be Jiu-jitsu guys. 

At one point in the night, some guy grabbed my cousin’s ass and then disappeared into the crowd, so all of our guys stopped everything. With the help of the bouncers, they stood outside the front door and brought everybody out one by one. Every time a guy would come out, Carlson Gracie Jr. would hold him and ask my cousin who got her ass grabbed, “Is this the guy? No? Okay, man, you can go.” They went through almost EVERY SINGLE GUY in the club like that! (laughs) They finally found the guy who did it, and obviously they beat him up. That’s how intense they were, they would shut down a whole club just to find one guy who grabbed my cousin’s ass! 


On another night, a guy did something to upset all the Gracies so they walked outside with him and a bunch of his friends. My cousin Russo held up his right fist to the guy and said, “If you can escape from this punch, we won’t beat you up.” But while the guy was looking at Russo’s right hand, his brother Daniel threw a punch over Russo’s left shoulder and knocked the guy out with a punch he never even saw coming -- and then of course all hell broke loose! It was so much fun! (laughs) 

One other thing Daniel liked to do -- if he had something against a guy but didn’t have a good enough reason to fight him, he would say to me, “Rose, go slap that guy in the face”. That would make it look like the guy had insulted me or something, and then Daniel had an excuse to beat the guy up! (laughs) It was terrible! But we always had so much fun in those clubs.

When you’re in the middle of that sort of thing it’s just normal, everyday stuff. It wasn’t until I grew up that I realized how serious it really was. We had plenty of bar fights, every single time we went somewhere it was a problem. And if one of our group did something, we would all have to move because of safety issues. Sometimes I would have just gotten to a bar with my girlfriends and already I have to leave because of some trouble where the Gracies might be in danger. I would be so disappointed! (laughs)

Check out www.facebook.com/FamousBouncers for more bouncer stories from stars in a wide variety of pursuits. For UG Blog excerpts for MMA Fighters, check out:

When We Were Bouncers: Jason Day
When We Were Bouncers: Jerry Trimble
When We Were Bouncers: Gurdarshan Mangat
When We Were Bouncers: Enson Inoue
When We Were Bouncers: Dean of Mean
When We Were Bouncers: Ragin' Kajan Johnson
When We Were Bouncers: Aaron Riley
When We Were Bouncers: Tom Erikson
When We Were Bouncers: Paul Cheng 
When We Were Bouncers: Shayna Baszler 
When We Were Bouncers: Gary Myers 
When We Were Bouncers: Jonathan Goulet 
When We Were Bouncers: Gene LeBell
When We Were Bouncers: John Lober
When We Were Bouncers: Paul Varelans 
When We Were Bouncers: Pat Miletich (someone gets attacked with a pitchfork)
When We Were Bouncers: Renzo Gracie (he bounced in a brothel at 14)


tags: When We Were Bouncers   Javi Vazquez   Rose Gracie   


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Recent Comments »

CaptChaos site profile image  

5/7/14 10:03 AM by CaptChaos

Yeah they were bullies and probably still are. acting like they worked there just to get a table they wanted... it's just bully mentality. They travelled in groups and always had the advantage probably.I wish journalists would take a story like this and run with it and really put a black mark/stigma to their name so everyone knows about this type of stuff. It just goes to show if you are likable you can get away with a lot. Renzo has showed very poor sportsmanship over the years and you rarely hear anything about it. Plus just about all of the Gracie fighters that aren't that good are extremely picky about who they fight at the regional level. You'd be shocked. They want cupcakes. Picky as heck!

Isaac Bickerstaff site profile image  

4/4/14 3:24 AM by Isaac Bickerstaff

Women love to see men fighting on their behalf.  It is really sick actually.  

MickColins site profile image  

4/3/14 10:59 AM by MickColins

One thing I noticed in the Rose story was her admitting to instigating fights. So many fights at bars start because a chick instigates. It's one of the major things that shocked me when I worked at bars.

Hurtsogood site profile image  

4/3/14 10:47 AM by Hurtsogood

You make a fair point. You're assumption is probably valid a lot of the time. People who like to fight often times have some sort of emotional or social problem that kind of led them down that path. Guys like that usually aren't outspoken about how honorable they consider fighting and training to be though. The real obvious D-bags tend to be a lot more concerned with how awesome it is that they can beat everyone's ass. Maybe the issue is that everyone else has a different understanding of what honorable means than the Gracie family. Did anyone ever actually get them to define what it meant. Maybe it means something different in Brazil.

Madrugadao site profile image  

4/3/14 10:09 AM by Madrugadao

See I don't take that into account. I never bought the whole martial artists being so honourable bit, in the first place. I guess that's why I am less surprised. I always assumed a lot of people who train to fight, like fighting and will take any opportunity to fight. They dress it up and try their best to make others seem like the aggressor but it is amazing how many times some people who train have to put 'douchebags' in their place.Don't get me wrong, there are definitely really humble and respectful fighters about (GSP being a good example) but plenty of the fighters you guys idolise are probably violent assholes.

Hurtsogood site profile image  

4/3/14 8:51 AM by Hurtsogood

I would say the Gracie story is surprising if you take into account their family wide ethos of APPARENTLY being all about respect and honor. That story Rose told was pretty much the opposite of both those things. People do stupid things when they are young as I'm sure anyone here can attest to that. I would never claim to not have done some dumb and foolish things myself, but the difference between a normal person and a complete asshole is probably realizing those things were in fact mistakes that you would take back if you could. She seems strangely proud of how the entire Gracie clan would essentially assault innocent people for fun. This is not the sort of thing the Gracies claim to stand for and I'm assuming most everyone here would agree with that statement judging by the overwhelming distain in the responses posted.

Madrugadao site profile image  

4/3/14 7:16 AM by Madrugadao

It seems a few of these 'When We Were Bouncers' stories end up being about trained people bullying (and kicking the fuck out of) average Joes.That being said, is the Gracie story really that surprising? A family that gained fame by being the best fighters in Rio (Rio FFS) were crazy and liked to start fights.

ryans site profile image  

4/3/14 6:45 AM by ryans

Well, I don't like to judge, but I never understood why this was celebrated. He tweets that two guys asked for a cigarette and he beat one to a pulp.. "I ask him if he was planing to rob me, he says no. All he wanted was a cigarette, lol I can't help but have a big smile upon my face".Then he sends a pic of a guy who looks about 50yo on his knees.Renzo always seemed much more chilled though, so who knows.

DeLishis site profile image  

4/3/14 12:11 AM by DeLishis

The Gracie PR Nightmare! It's all up to Kron now.

12 site profile image  

4/3/14 12:02 AM by 12

please share