Renzo Gracie finally opened up.
The MMA veteran was arrested a week ago at 1 OAK club in New York and charged for gang assault after sending a nightclub doorman to the hospital. During an interview to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour on Tuesday, Gracie told his side of the story.
According to the UFC and PRIDE veteran, he was coming back from Andre Gusmao’s birthday party with some friends, including fellow fighters Gregor Gracie and Igor Gracie, when they decided to go to the club.
"In reality, people made this thing become big," Renzo Gracie said. "The (district attorney) saw me there and decided to call the press and make a drama that it was a gang assault. A gang assault is when three people beat up one individual and cause him serious injuries, which never happened."
Gracie claims he never punched the bouncer. In fact, he admits he wanted to beat him up, but changed his mind as soon as "he chickened out."
"Now that they watched the tapes they realize nothing happened but me taking the guy down and mounting on him," he said. "When I was gonna start beating him up, he said to me ‘why are you doing this? I don’t know you. Why are you beating me up?’ You have to understand one thing. In my life, I promise that I’ll never hit someone who chickened out. And the guy chickened out. I couldn’t hit him.
"I stood up and at the same time an amazing bouncer that I know for a long day came up asking ‘Renzo, why are you doing this?’ I stood up and said ‘I didn’t know you were working here tonight. I apologize to you, I apologize coming to your place without talking to you first.’ And I started walking, but the problem is that this same guy stood up and called all the bouncers and was telling them we were attackers. So as we were trying to make to the car, the bouncers are coming after us when the cops arrived.
"When the cops arrived he made a huge scandal and got us arrested. Many times the justice system doesn’t work properly. We were the only ones arrested, there was no gang assault. There were three guys jumping on Igor and luckily nobody hit nobody. The only person that took someone down was me. My altercation was directly with this person that is accusing us.
"How I see a coward? It’s like a bag of poop. I can’t dirty my hands. The moment he chickened out and made this whole drama … And now he’s claiming he’s gonna sue me, and I would like to know for what. He didn’t even get hurt. Nobody’s hurt. They made a huge drama. It was me and him. And I have this on tape."
Renzo Gracie, who runs a martial arts center a mile away from the club, claims that other bouncers wish he had beat the guy up.
"I just got invited to a dinner by 16 bouncers. They just invited me," he said. "And I can bring whoever I want, all the instructors of the academy, because we wish for a long time this to happen to this guy. That’s how much they hate him."
Renzo and his six friends were arrested and kept in jail for two days, and the MMA veteran declined to leave the prison first.
"I was in jail for two days, laughing. Enjoying every moment," he said. "I had a great time, to be honest."
"I couldn’t leave them," he continued. "There was my fault that they were in there. I was the one who lost the temper. I lost the temper with a reason and why I’m gonna leave the kids in there?"
Andre Gusmao, the first fighter to face Jon Jones in the UFC, was also arrested by the police even though the district attorney admitted he didn’t participate in the scuffle.
"Andre Gusmao was on the sidewalk watching. It’s so ridiculous," Renzo Gracie said. "(The DA) goes in there and reads ‘Mr. Andre Gusmao was on the sidewalk, he didn’t participate, he was just watching, and the guy spoke to him in Portuguese. $10,000 bail.’ She’s saying he was on the side, he wasn’t in the scuffle, and the only reason is because I told him ‘just call my house and tell them I will be out for a couple days’ in Portuguese. And they arrested him. That was the accusation."
"It’s not because you’re a fighter, it’s because they wanted to call the attention of the press," he continued. "They want to make a drama and create problems. Now they know because they watched the tape. They saw that was no coward act. They saw it was just a little scuffle and I took him down and mounted him. I didn’t hit him once. That’s the reality, I don’t need to lie. If I beat the crap out of him, I’d tell you right now, but I didn’t had the chance. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance. It couldn’t happen because he chickened out. I wish he had put a fight. Why I’m so frustrated, I was expecting a fight when I tackled him."
Gracie accuses the bouncers of turning off the cameras so they can beat people up in the streets and avoid trouble, and that’s why the club doesn’t have the footage of the scene.
"They messed up with the cameras so they don’t have the footage because normally it’s them beating up guys like you, who go to a club and you get your ass kicked," he said. "This is for them not to get sued. And I heard this from employees who work there. They messed up the cameras on purpose. I have footage from a guy that was in the line, waiting to get in."
Gracie and his friends are expected to go back to trial on July 17, but Renzo doesn’t want a lawyer.
"I’m gonna put a team of good lawyers to defend the kids," he said. "In reality, I don’t feel I need defense. I can go in there and talk for myself and have this done. I doubt any judge will question what I’m saying."