Rolles Gracie caused considerable controversy today when he publicly awarded Mark William Calaway better known as WWE star ‘The Undertaker’ a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
When asked by reporter Ariel Helwani prior to today’s UFC Live event ‘The Undertaker’ commented: “I make no secret that I like mixed martial arts. Over time I’ve got to know a few of the UFC guy’s. Okay I don’t like Brock Lesnar but me and Rashad get on okay, you know”.
He added: “The tipping point for me was when I saw Rashad awarded his black belt”. ‘The Undertaker’ is believed to have begun training the art since January 2010 under closed doors. The controversial decision at the time by Rolles Gracie to award Rashad the black belt caused considerable debate. Accusations came towards Rolles of a ‘watering down’, commercialisation and popularisation of the sport. Purists argued the MMA star, with a wrestling base, did not deserve the coveted accolade.
Many within the BJJ community including renowned practitioner Joe Rogan derided Rolles. The criticism focused on the fact that the MMA star had never trained in the gi or even attempted a submission within the octagon.
The Undertaker with the belt over his shoulder added: “In January last year I started training with Rolles”. When asked by Ariel if it was in the traditional gi he replied: “No, I was in the singlet, it feels more natural”.
Although the frequency and length of the famous WWE star’s training schedule is unknown it is the fastest black belt awarded in the history of the sport awarded after 19 months.
When contacted between a training session at his academy Rolles said: “the guy thoroughly deserves it” before adding: “this art is about controlling and not just submissions but nonetheless you can expect to see some slick submissions from ‘The Undertaker’ in the future”.
Rolles may be known to some MMA fans for his match in the UFC against Joey Beltran after which his contract was cut. Remember you heard it here on cagewarriors first.