Helio Gracie, the father of Gracie jiu-jitsu, is dead at the age of 95. Gracie passed in his sleep early Thursday in Itaipaiva, Rio de Janeiro, after he had been admitted to a local hospital a few days prior for stomach problems.
“He passed the way he always wanted to –- quick and fast,” said an immediate relative, who asked not to be identified. The relative said Gracie’s body would be buried on Thursday.
The youngest of Cesalina and Gastao Gracie’s eight children, he learned traditional jiu-jitsu by watching his brother, Carlos, teach it, but his small frame made it difficult for him to execute the moves. As a result, he adapted techniques to fit his limited physical ability and gave rise to modern-day Brazilian jiu-jitsu. ...His impact on the sport of mixed martial arts was profound. His son, Rorion, was credited with developing the concept that became the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and another of his sons, Royce, won the first two UFC tournaments in 1993 and 1994. Two other sons, Rickson and Royler, also competed in MMA.