Royce Gracie, UFC icon challenged Mike Tyson for a 'no-holds barrered' fight 'tothe finish'. A memoir revealed.
In the 1980s, the boxing legend was tearing apart the heavyweight division before a conviction for rape and excessive drinking ruined his career.
Brazilian MMA superstar Royce Gracie (right), was a pioneer in UFC
Mike Tyson was challenged by UFC legend to a massive match-up
Iron Mike was preparing for his return to the ring. UFC, a MMA promotion, was founded. Brazilian fighter Gracie (now 55) won three fights on the first night of UFC's late 1993.
His desire to be the best fighter on Earth led him to an incredible challenge for the Baddest Man On The Planet.
Fiaz Rafiq, a sports journalist, wrote last year, 'To The Top: Enter the Octagon, the Ring and Entertainment.' It was revealed that Tyson was challenged by the Gracie Brothers, Royce, in the early 1990s.
"The UFC champion believed Tyson was world's best boxer, but he didn't believe Tyson was the greatest 'fighter'.
"The Gracies had a point. They beat all-comers of different styles for years before the Octagon was invented.
"Royce was determined to get the heavyweight champion to accept a fight in a non-stop setting.
"To settle the matter once for all, Royce challenged the most feared fighter of our time to a fight until the end, as did his elder brother Rickson."
Gracie believed that Tyson, 56 was unbeatable despite his massive frame and ferocity - but the proposal was rejected by Iron Mike who felt there was no way he would win.
To the Top: The Octagon, the Ring and Entertainment are out May 3
Rafiq wrote that Royce was a fighter who could execute their own strategy. Much of the Gracie style was designed to eliminate the possibility of their opponent getting a lucky punch.
"Royce lacked brute force but he made up for it in technical skill as his opponents - including a professional fighter - quickly discovered.
He said, "There's only one method to find out," and a small smile crept across his face, followed by loud laughter. Tyson declined, unfortunately for posterity.
In fact, Gracie returned a few years later with a new proposal which was rejected by a boxing industry that now clamours for YouTube brawlers like Jake Paul and crossover events such as Conor McGregor's fight with Floyd Mayweather.
Rafiq said, "In Iron Mike’s case, one rejection was not enough for Royce.
"In 1997, the Gracie's Challenge made headlines again after Men's Health in America published a one-page advertisement in which the UFC champion challenged the former heavyweight boxer 'officially'. There are no rules, and you can go anywhere, any time!
"Years later, I asked Royce about this famous challenge and found that the heavyweight was, at least theoretically, willing to take on the challenge.
Royce said, "I heard my brother tried [to bring him in] to the UFC," He had accepted, but his friends - lawyers, managers and the Commission - told him no, because boxing was too risky.
He had already accepted the offer and was eager to try it. He said, "I would love to try this stuff, man." I spoke to him before.
He was not allowed to do so by his family. He lost a fight. If it did, it was a sign that boxing was in decline in America.
To the Top: Enter the Octagon, the Ring and Entertainment of Fiaz Rafiq are published by Pitch Publishing. They released it May 3, priced at PS20 hardback or PS9.99. You can find the ebook in bookstores or by following this Amazon link.