A member of the legendary Gracie family has signed a multi-fight deal with Bellator MMA, 31-year old Ralek.
Gracie (3-0-0) has not competed in well over six years, and his last bout was a unanimous decision win over Kazushi Sakuraba at Dream 14. Prior to the win over Sakuraba, Gracie also picked up a pair of victories over Alavutdin Gadjiev and Katsuyori Shibata, both wins came via submission.
Gracie announced the signing via his Twitter account and said that he would like to MAKE his promotional debut at Bellator 170 in early 2017.
Ralek has been in a heated feud with brothers Ryron and Renon Gracie recently over issues stemming from Metamoris, which is the company that Ralek operates. Speculation from those within the MMA universe have speculated that Rallek signed with Bellator MMA in order to alleviate the financial burdens that promotion has caused the fighters and others associated with the jiu-jitsu promotion.
You can see a press release Bellator sent to Fightful.com below.
Ralek is the third son of Rorion, the nephew of Royce, Rickson, and Royler Gracie and received his black belt from Grand Master Helio Gracie. The Gracie Family is famous for putting Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu on the map around the globe.
At only 22, Ralek made his MMA debut in Japan, where he defeated his opponent, Kastuyori Shibata with a devastating armbar. Nearly a year later, Ralek returned to Japan for his second MMA fight and again was victorious, this time defeating Gahdzhiev Alavutdin with an armbar from the mount. These two bouts led to a highly anticipated matchup with Kazushi Sakuraba, where again the Los Angeles native left “The Land of the Rising Sun” with the victory. That was the last time Ralek would fight under MMA rules, until now.
“I was bred for hand-to-hand combat over generations and I simply can't ignore that during my physical prime. My destiny is calling me and my opponent is irrelevant, it's go time,” Gracie said. “It's crazy to see where fighting has come since my childhood of seeing everything unfold from behind the scenes. Bellator is really stepping up the opportunities fighters have to compete more often and in different countries and I'm excited to join that movement and test my style in this modern MMA era.”
It has yet to be determined which weight class the 31-year-old will participate in, but expect to see him lace up the gloves for Bellator MMA in early 2017.