Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelt Kron Gracie left fans and pundits alike confused following his strange performance at UFC 288. In a fight that ‘Ice Cream Kron’ lost by unanimous decision to Charles Jourdain—largely due to an unwillingness to engage in any striking, set up take downs, or work to dominant grappling positions on the mat—questions were raised as to what the grappler’s actual gameplan for his long awaited return was.
Kron Gracie blames ‘bad advice’
Having been away from the Octagon for three and a half years, Gracie left the fighting community wondering how he would return from such a long layoff—especially with the COVID-19 pandemic in the middle of that hiatus as well. With the world class grappler turning in such a monumentally disappointing performance, it’s little wonder that the criticism generated by his showing at UFC 288 was swift and severe.
Ten days after UFC 288, Gracie has decided to release a statement on social media to explain what led him to his inglorious bout against Jourdain. On his official Instagram stories, the ‘Rio Kid’ blamed the lack of striking and setups in his arsenal to “bad advice” he received, and an attempt to try and “please the jiu-jitsu community.”
“In a lifetime of fighting, it’s always been a fight to the death,” Gracie wrote. “(To) understand the situation and willing to limit myself. Even that being said, I threw no punches because of bad advice and (I) tried to please the jiu-jitsu community two days before my fight. (For the) first time in my life, I didn’t throw a punch. Going back to my old ways.”
Dana White among the critics
Always willing to express his views, UFC president Dana White was one of the most notable voices to criticize Kron Gracie’s performance at UFC 288, comparing it to how other members of the legendary family used to fight in the 1990’s. At the post-fight scrum, White said he still liked Gracie, but had nothing nice to add about the featherweight’s gameplan.
“I like Kron a lot. He’s a good kid. He came in very limited tonight. Very limited. It was like coming out of a time capsule in 1995. Tough way to try to win a fight these days,” White told the media.
“The kid’s got a ton of heart, he’s got a good chin. I like him. I don’t want to shit on his performance, but that was a rough gameplan.”
Kron Gracie has also campaigned for one-round fights
‘Old-fashioned’ would be among the nicest ways people have found to describe the way in which Kron Gracie fought at UFC 288. It may be that that mindset goes deeper than just a devotion to traditional BJJ and the classic Gracie techniques.
In an interview before the vvent, Gracie stated his preference that the MMA ruleset return to one-round, 15 & 25-minute fights. Something closer to the earliest UFC era, where fighters had unlimited time to work. It’s an idea that the sport left behind years and years ago, but the Brazilian believes the change could bring more finishes and exciting fights.
“What I really think MMA needs is, instead of [more] rounds, is 15- or 25-minute rounds,” Gracie said. “I think that’s something that would change the result and bring more finishes on the feet and on the ground because when you have rounds, you have a break and time to think, your coach brings you water, and that changes the fight. It’s no longer a fight between you and the guy.
“I know it’s hard to have a fight with no time limit, but I think there should be no rounds.” Gracie said. “It should be a 15-minute fight, or a 25-minute fight. I think that would change the sport for the better. You would have more chances to fight and win with these rules.”
The loss to Jourdain put Kron Gracie (5-2) on a two-fight losing skid in the Octagon, with a unanimous decision defeat to Cub Swanson in October 2019 being the most recent other entry on his record. In fact, the 34-year-old’s only win in the promotion came in his UFC debut, when he finished Alex Caceres with a rear-naked choke.
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