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Dana White: UFC Not Negotiating with Royce Gracie for UFC Rio

Dana White has indicated that Royce Gracie’s return to the Octagon won’t be happening at UFC 134 in Rio de Janeiro. MMA Fighting reported that “that the [UFC] has no interest in offering a fight” to Gracie despite reports indicated talks were ongoing.

We had written a month ago that the possibility of Gracie returning for a farewell fight was a legitimate possibility, but now it looks like that won’t be happening. Gracie’s manager was the one who had said they were nailing down a deal to fight on the card.

Gracie is the original UFC winner, having been victorious at UFC 1, UFC 2, and UFC 4. He has not fought in the UFC since losing to Matt Hughes in 2006, and his last fight was a win over Kazushi Sakuraba in a 2007 EliteXC fight. Gracie tested positive for steroids after beating Sakuraba and hasn’t fought since then.

Royce Gracie May Return to Octagon for UFC Rio

The possibility of Royce Gracie fighting on the UFC Rio card has existed since plans for the UFC to go to Brazil were made, and now it looks even stronger. The Hall of Famer and winner of UFC 1 may come out of retirement to fight on the card that will likely be held late in August in Rio de Janeiro.

Gracie’s manager Mike Kogan told MMA Junkie “I think we’re going to make a deal. We have plenty of time, so there’s really no problems. It’s just a matter of getting it nailed down.”

Kogan added that he and Gracie have talked about a retirement fight (oxymoron?) for the past year, but he noted that the UFC could decide against putting Gracie on the card given that no deal has been made.

If Gracie is to make a return, it certainly would be surprising. The 44-year-old hasn’t fought professionally since the middle of 2007 when he tested positive for steroids following his win over Kazushi Sakuraba.