Bellator Fighting Championships on Wednesday announced the first competitor for its Season 4 light heavyweight tournament, and he comes from a family with one of the most extensive lineages in mixed martial arts.
Daniel Gracie, as originally reported by MMAWeekly.com, will take to the Bellator cage in the promotion’s first venture into a light heavyweight tournament.
According to Gracie’s manager, Ali Abdel-Aziz from Dominance MMA, after a long layoff, he is ready to get back into active competition and what better way than with a tournament that has potential for him to fight every month.
“Daniel is older, he wants to fight now every month, and this is a good opportunity for him to fight in the tournament. I’m very confident and I think Daniel will have the opportunity to win the tournament,” said Abdel-Aziz on Sunday.
“Daniel took almost 4 years off and now he wants to fight every month, and Bellator offered us the opportunity for him to fight, and I think it’s going to have a very, very good outcome.”
Daniel is a cousin to Renzo Gracie, Ralph Gracie, and the late Ryan Gracie. Holding a fourth degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Daniel has a 5-2-1 professional record in mixed martial arts.
He recently returned to action by submitting Martin Wojcik at the first Israel FC in November. Gracie was out of action the prior four years nursing an elbow injury that he had trouble shaking.
“The Gracie family has truly influenced MMA as we know it today and I’m proud to say that heritage continues when Daniel steps into the Bellator cage to try to become our light heavyweight champion” said Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney. “A Gracie back in the tournament format is reminiscent of the days when the Gracie’s dominated MMA and that’s something I’m excited to see.”
The Bellator Season 4 light heavyweight tournament is expected to kick off in March 2011 on the promotion’s new partner network MTV2.