Photo courtesy of RGTV
It’s been an interesting year for Royce Gracie. Royce was contacted by the UFC about being one of the coaches for the Ultimate Fighter. (Some believe Ken Shamrock would’ve been the opposing coach). Gracie was also contacted about fighting in the UFC as Gracie himself confirmed it in a recent chat on the Underground Forum.
Gracie told the UFC however that he couldn’t make the time for the show and thus it never materalized. Royce was also contacted by a few other organizations but settled on K-1.
Gracie’s Manager discussed that once Gracie decided on fighting in K-1, there were a few opponents that were offered a fight with the MMA Hall of Famer. “First it was Hong Man Choi, – he did not want to fight Royce. Then it was Peter Aerts – we took the fight, but the TV station did not agree with the ratings possibilites, so now its settled on Akiyama”. The 30 year old Yoshihiro Akiyama, from Osaka Japan has won plenty of major Judo championships.
Akiyama also has some MMA expierence. He has wins over Francois Botha in K-1′s Dynamite card. Akiyama did lose to Jerome Banner which was probably the biggest name he has faced other than Gracie. Akiyama has a 4-3 MMA record but is a pretty good name in Japan. It will be interesting to see how many more fights Gracie will fight in next year.