EA seems determined to embed as much history as possible into its very first attempt at a UFC game. First they brought Bruce Lee to the table, a man that was arguably a mixed-martial artist before mixed martial arts existed. Now EA has announced that Royce Gracie — the very first champion of UFC back when the UFC was a simple eight-man tournament — will be appearing as a playable character.
Royce Gracie's story is an interesting one. The very first UFC was partly organised by the Gracie family as a way to prove that the martial art they practiced — Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu — was the most effective martial art in no holds barred combat. The very first UFC proved this. Attracting high level boxers, kickboxers and even a Sumo wrestler, Royce Gracie managed to cruise through the competition beating boxer Art Jimmerson, Ken Shamrock and Gerard Gordeau en route to winning the tournament.
But interestingly, Royce was not thought of as the strongest member of the Gracie family. In fact, the family chose Royce because, as a smaller fighter, the impact of him essentially destroying larger men way outside his weight class would cement to all outsiders the fact that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was the most effective fighting art. Royce weighed roughly 170 pounds and Gerard Gordeau, for example, was a heavyweight. But it took less than two minutes for Royce to force Gordeau to submit with a choke.
Royce would go on to win a further two UFC tournaments and cement himself as one of the founding fathers of MMA and the UFC.
Royce Gracie is set to appear as an unlockable character. Patient players will be able to unlock Gracie simply by completing EA Sports UFC on Pro difficulty or above, but if you pre-order the game at select retailers you can make him available from the start.