First Rolles’ cousin and cornerman Renzo talks to Gracie Fighter (HT MMA Mania) about Rolles’ poor performance from his perspective:
“It was embarrasing. I can tell you he wasn’t in that bad of shape. Fact is the nerves drained him of his energy. His stand up and ground work looked bad, nothing at all like he was doing in training leading up to the fight and it was if he couldn’t hear what I was telling him. I think the pressure he put on himself overwhelmed him. He’ll learn and be back.”
Renzo has to say that. If Rolles looked as out of shape in practice as he did in the Octagon, he should never have been allowed in the cage.
Our own Leland Roling took a similarly upbeat view of Rolles’ prospects:
For a guy like Rolles Gracie, it may take a considerable amount of time to breed that sort of confidence and mental preparation. A loss against Joey Beltran may be exactly what he needs to pick up his training, gain a considerable amount of confidence, and become a mentally tougher fighter for the future. Sometimes, a loss is exactly what a fighter needs.
But Rolles’ opponent Joey Beltran has a different take when talking to Ray Hui:
Rolles is catching a lot of flack for the fight, even from his own camp. What did you think of his performance?
Obviously, I know that guy didn’t want to fight. I felt bad. I mean, I didn’t — I do feel a little bad for him. Before the fight even happened, he didn’t seem like a guy who wants to fight. He doesn’t have it in his heart. He’s kind of being pushed into it because he’s a Gracie. I almost feel bad for the guy because he had so much pressure going into that fight, but it’s business. I know I was brought in there to lose so I had to ruin their plans. It is what it is.
What gave you the impression he didn’t want to fight?
I don’t know. Just with interviews. Just him saying stuff like, “I got into fighting because I wanted to try something new.” No, buddy. If you want to compete at this level, you got to have fighting in your heart from day one or else you’re going to get hurt real quick.
So whether Rolles is a “born fighter” or not is something only time will tell. If he really doesn’t burn with the desire to fight in the cage, I hope for his sake that he has the nerve to stand up to the huge expectations that come with the last name Gracie and walk away.
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