Joey Beltran and Renzo Gracie Talk Rolles Gracie’s Dismal Debut at UFC 109

First Rolles' cousin and cornerman Renzo talks to Gracie Fighter (HT MMA Mania) about Rolles' poor performance from his perspective: "It was embarrasing. I…

By: Nate Wilcox | 13 years ago
Joey Beltran and Renzo Gracie Talk Rolles Gracie’s Dismal Debut at UFC 109
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

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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About the author
Nate Wilcox
Nate Wilcox

Nate Wilcox is the founding editor of As such he has hired every editor and writer to work for the site. Wilcox’s writing for BE is known for its emphasis on MMA history, the evolution of fighting techniques and strong opinions. Wilcox developed the SBN MMA consensus rankings which were featured in USA Today from 2009 to 2011. Before founding BE, Wilcox was a political operative working for such figures as Senators John Kerry and Mark Warner and an early political blogger. He is the co-author of Netroots Rising, a history of the political blogosphere from 2003 to 2007. Wilcox also hosts the Let It Roll podcast on music history for the Pantheon Podcast Network.

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