Royce Gracie named #44 greatest athlete of all time


Royce Gracie was selected to represent his family's version of Jiu-Jitsu in the first few UFCs because he looked far less athletic than for example his brother Rickson. Rickson too would have beaten everyone at UFC 1, but it would not have had the same effect on the world.

When a muscular ferocious fighter wins, the assumption is that he won because he he was ferocious and muscular. When the 170 lb Royce dominated UFC 1, it was clear that there was something world changing in his technique.

It was thus ironic that Royce was selected as one of  the top 50 greatest athletes of all time. Royce came in at #44, in a field that included Roger Federer, Mia Hamm, Lebron James, Michael Jordan, Mike Tyson, Serena Williams, and Tiger Woods.

However, there is more to being a great athlete than being athletic. There is leadership, and heart and courage, and seeing the future and then making it, and in all these regards, Royce is an extraordinary choice.

The list was generated by a panel of experts organized by Beckett Media. The 50 Greatest Athletes of All Time is available online and on newsstands through mid-January, nationwide and in Canada, at Target, Walmart, Barnes & Noble, CVS, supermarkets, airports and wherever sports magazines are sold.

"I am honored to make sports illustrated top 50 athletes of all time list," sair Royce. "I don't get excited about many things but this is something that humbles me."

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tags: UFC   Royce Gracie (detail)  


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jpm995 site profile image  

1/11/14 11:47 AM by jpm995

Babe Ruth is #1. Wilt #2Big gap after that imo. James Brown s/b #3.

nobones site profile image  

1/11/14 1:47 AM by nobones

At least they picked an MMA fighter for the list though.

nobones site profile image  

1/11/14 1:46 AM by nobones

The article sort of contradicts itself. Royce was not a great athlete. He was a technician in submission grappling that dominated during a time of great ignorance. The article purports to celebrate athleticism...BJ Penn would have been a better candidate...or Anderson Silva. Royce was a very mediocre athlete.

Tombmatter site profile image  

1/11/14 1:29 AM by Tombmatter

Kirik, following this line of thought in defining greatness, I would be very interested to hear who do you think is the greatest of all time in MMA?

TwentyNineTwentyEight site profile image  

1/10/14 11:09 PM by TwentyNineTwentyEight

Lmao. I knew someone was going to post it!

BrocksSwockRanTrane_onShane site profile image  

1/10/14 10:39 PM by BrocksSwockRanTrane_onShane

LOL, basketball, LOL!  

JLK site profile image  

1/10/14 8:48 PM by JLK

I would think worst guys for draft dodging would be the ones who claimed to support the war but due to money or influence made sure they didn't have to serve.Ali didn't agree with the war and took the punishment for standing up to his ideals. He has my respect for that.

JohnnyChrist site profile image  

1/10/14 8:33 PM by JohnnyChrist

Er no. If it were just pure 'physical traits', plus the ability to put those physical traits into use in a sport due to skill and intelligence, a person who was in the sport when it was extremely unestablished, where the skill level was comically bad, and the overall complexion of the sport was just entirely unathletic would not be at 44. Sorry. Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan, and Muhammad Ali deserve to be on this list. Royce Gracie does not.

ShamusO'nyou site profile image  

1/10/14 7:38 PM by ShamusO'nyou

ExactlyIf it was just pure physical traits then the list would be all olympians

rkm456 site profile image  

1/10/14 7:23 PM by rkm456

There's just a slight difference between someone not playing a sport and someone not being allowed to play it. It's subtle I know, but it is there. I'm not naive enough to believe that race denotes talent, but cutting out a section of the talent pool will always make your life easier. I enjoyed your attempt to make it about race though.My statement about comparing Bonds to Ruth would be that, how many times did Ruth go 30/30? You think his defense was good enough to have won 8 gold gloves? Sure Bonds is 1 place behind Ruth on the ab/hr list, he also most than double second on the all time ibb, which although doesnt count as an at bat, it will effect the ab/hr number. Ruth had 7 mvp worthy seasons, but guess what? So did Bonds, and last I checked even if he was the best hitter, that still doesn't unequivocally make him the best baseball player of all time, as that distinction is probably better reserved for 5 tool playersI always enjoy the "bonds took steroids" argument. Did he? Maybe, based on when he played, I'd even say probably. Based on facts I'd also say almost every professional athlete from inside the last 35 years or so is using steroids too, and I'm sure you already know they've been used by athletes since about 1900, but I digress. Bonds failed 0 tests, Bonds was tried for lying about steroids use by the supreme court, and those charges were dropped. Only test Bonds ever failed was the eyeball test.