Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Bad Ass

Illustration for article titled Bad Ass

From the Bronx Banter archives, check out Pat Jordan's 1989 Playboy story on Rorion Gracie:

Rorion Gracie is willing to fight to the death to prove he’s the toughest man in the west.

The toughest man in the United States holds no official titles and has had only one fight in years. He lives with his pregnant wife and four children, three small sons and a baby daughter, in a modest ranch house on a tidy little street of similar homes in Torrance, California. He is 37, tall and skinny at 6’2″, 165 pounds, and he does not look very tough. He looks mor like Tom Selleck than like Mr. T. He is dark and handsome like Selleck, with wavy black hair, a trim mustache and a charming, self-deprecating smile. He spends more time in the kitchen than his wife does and wears a woman’s apron. He has an idiosyncratic high-pitched laugh. He picks up a yellowed newspaper with an account of one of his father’s fights, adjusts his bifocals and reads. “‘The most savage, stupid bloody desires of the audience were satisfied,’” he says. Then he laughs. “Heh-heh!”

“I never spank my sons,” Rorion says, “because my father never spanked me.” He spends as much time as possible with his sons. He drives them to their soccer practice in his station wagon. He spends the day with them at the beach.

Rorion once fought a kick-boxing champion and made him beg for mercy in less then three minutes. Before the fight, the kick boxer had stood in his corner of the ring and flexed his muscular arms. He cut the air with savage kicks. The crowd oohed and aahed. Rorion, skinny and stoop-shouldered, stood in his corner and waited. Two minutes and 15 seconds after the bell sounded, he was straddling the kick boxer on the mat in such a way that, if the kick boxer had not surrendered, Rorion would have “choked him out.”

Rorion has made a standing offer to fight anyone in the United States, winner take all, for $100,000. So far he has had no takers – for one simple reason. Rorion’s fights are fights to the finish with no rules.

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