Global Training Report
No. 44, 4/26, 2001
Translated by Roberto Pedreira
Q: Sakuraba, who performed a historical fight
with you last year, was defeated by Vanderlei Silva. Did you see
it on video or TV?
Royce: Yeah, I saw.
Q: In Japan Royce's
opinions about Sakuraba's defeat is suddenly a topic of interest.
Royce: First, I can say that Vanderlei fought well
according to his own game plan. When Sakuraba is your opponent, a key to
win is to fight aggressively. In this sense, I think Vanderlei's
aggressive fighting style led him to victory.
Q: On the other hand, what do you think the cause of
Sakuraba's defeat was?
Royce: I don't know about that. Maybe only Sakuraba
knows why he lost. But what I can say is that Sakuraba should have
clinched and taken Vanderlei down. You can't exchange blows head on with
a guy like Vanderlei. Vanderlei is better at striking on stand up after
all. It seems that he knows a little about ne-waza but on the ground
Sakuraba's level is several steps higher. I can't say why Sakuraba
lost but what I can say is that Sakuraba disregarded that point too
Q: To be sure, Sakuraba was very excited and
Royce: If Sakuraba hadn't fought that kind of way,
the result would have been completely different. In this sense,
too, the fight was in Vanderlei's hands from the beginning until the
Q: Indeed. By the way, from this time, there
are new rules in Pride. What has become a problem is that knee kicks and
soccer ball kicks to the head area while in the "four point
position" are permitted. How about that?
Royce: Ha ha ha ha ha, I am a man who came out in the
first period of the UFC, Sa-mojin [interviewer's name]. There is no
problem for me. The first period of UFC truly had these rules. Except
for eye poking, biting with the teeth, and pulling the hairs, everything
was permitted. Even attacking the genitals [kinteki kogeki] was
allowed. The structure of the UFC at that time, was
authentic vale tudo.
Q: With the new rules that permit striking attacks on
the opponent who is in the four points position, does the striking
fighter or the ne-waza fighter have the advantage?
Royce: That is a difficult question. Under these
rules, for sure the guy who has feet and hands on the mat will have
a disadvantage. But in the early UFCs, I doubt that even one
fighter intentionally took this kind of position. Nevertheless,
the [UFC} rules were changed to prohibit kicking to the head on the
ground in the past four years and fighters naturally gravitated to
the four point position under the umbrella [protection] provided by the
rules. When the fighters can do this it can't be said that you will ever
see a "clean" [decisive] fight. Like this, they will merely
win while being protected by a rule.
Royce: So from now on, according to the new
Pride rules, fighters will have no choice but to use correct techniques.
Because when fighters understand that they can be kicked in the head
when they get into this [four point] position, no one will fight like
Q: But, you don't think these new rules are
Royce: No. I have always been fighting with these
rules. No problem, not at all.
Q: Then, you yourself have no qualms about the new
Royce: No. I think the new rules are really good. We
[We Gracies] have said many times that we think that to prove who is the
strongest and what are the greatest techniques, no limit rules is what
it is to prove it. That is what a real duel is. Besides, rules that
demand a complete fighting without draws are the correct rules.
Q: But, aren't you, Royce, yourself, going to
change your fighting style according to these rules?
Royce: No. Not at all.
Q: Well then, suppose you fight Vanderlei, you will
fight differently from Sakuraba?
Royce: As I said before, Sakuraba didn't take
Vanderlei down, did he? If I were Sakuraba, I wouldn't even try to
think about exchanging striking with Vanderlei. Vanderlei has terrifying
[osoroshii] knees, punches, and kicks. Sakuraba surely must have
forgotten that the rules had been changed.
Q: Then, thinking about the Gracie way of fighting,
according to these rules, the "Guard Position" will become
important from now on, right?
Royce: Right. The Guard Position is usually an
important technique for me. With these new rules, no one will be able to
escape into the four point position. There will be more fights either by
striking on stand up or taking a guard position.
Q: By the way, it may have something to do these new
rules, but your cousin Renzo was KOed. What do you think about that?
Royce: I have seen the fight many times on video. But
I still don't understand what happened there. I heard that what decided
the fight was a right punch, but maybe it was a fight that demonstrates
that one attack can change the course of a fight.
Q: What do you think was the cause of Renzo's loss?
After all, I wonder if the new rules had an influence.
Royce: Absolutely no influence on the outcome.
This time he lost because of an accident which is inseparable from
fights. In a long career of fighting, such accidents can happen.
Therefore, I never felt from the fight that the new rules had an
influence, or that Renzo committed a technical mistake.
Q: By the way, When will you be returning to the
Royce: Next time It's up to the promoter (laugh).
Q: You still have the intention to fight in Pride
Royce: For sure (laugh).
Q: In Japan, since Silva defeated Sakuraba,
there is an opinion to want to see a match between Royce and Silva, but
who are the other fighters who you want to fight?
Royce: In any case, I want to fight a top fighter.
Seeing the fights I have done so far, everyone knows that I don't want
to fight weak opponents. For five years I didn't fight, but last year I
fought the top fighter, Sakuraba. One more time, I want to fight that
Q: But this time Sakuraba lost. What can you say to
Royce: Sakuraba, you are a great fighter. And you are
a very smart fighter. Don't be disconsolate that you lost this time. You
are still among the top fighters. Maybe, a strong fighter like you could
regain the top spot. I would like to see that.
Q: Well, any final message for the Japanese fans?
Royce: I am a fighter. Therefore, I will be back
soon. Also, I have opened an internet home page. The address is www.roycegracie.tv.
I will be able to show it to you within two weeks. It will contain
a lot of stuff with a big surprise, so please check it out. [Don't
blame GTR if this link isn't working.]
Here's another interview with Royce
(after loss to Sakuraba).
Gracie in Action
and GJJ instructional dvds can be ordered below:
(c) 2001, Roberto Pedreira, all rights reserved.