Ryan Gracie was a Brazilian mixed martial artist and a member of the famous Gracie family, known for their mastery of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He was also known as the “bad boy” of the family, due to his rebellious and violent behavior, both inside and outside the ring. He had a record of five wins and two losses in the PRIDE organization, and was a champion in several jiu-jitsu tournaments. However, his life was cut short on December 15, 2007, when he was found dead in a jail cell in São Paulo, Brazil. What was the cause of his death, and what led him to his tragic fate?
According to Bleacher Report, Ryan Gracie was arrested at approximately 1:30 AM on December 15, 2007, for stealing and crashing a car, and then attempting to steal a motorcycle to flee from the police. He reportedly threatened to kill the owner of the motorcycle, who hit him on the head and detained him with the help of other cyclists until the police arrived. He was taken to a police station, where he tested positive for marijuana, cocaine, and an unknown anti-anxiety drug. He was also reportedly agitated and aggressive, and had to be restrained by several officers.
Ryan Gracie’s wife, who was pregnant at the time, called a psychiatrist, Dr. Sabino Ferreira de Faria, to attend to him at the jail. The doctor allegedly administered the following drugs to Ryan, according to Bleacher Report:
- Haldol: a powerful antipsychotic, used to treat schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders.
- Fenergan: an antihistamine, used to treat allergies, nausea, and motion sickness. It also has a side effect of sleepiness.
- Topamax: an anticonvulsant, used to treat epilepsy and migraines.
- Dienpax: a tranquilizer, used to treat anxiety and insomnia.
- OmniPlex: a relaxant, used to treat muscle spasms and tension.
The doctor claimed that he gave Ryan the drugs to calm him down and prevent him from harming himself or others. He also said that he stayed with Ryan for most of the night, and left him sleeping peacefully around 6:00 AM.
However, at 7:00 AM, Ryan Gracie was found slumped over and unresponsive in his cell. He was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The cause of death was initially unknown, and an autopsy was ordered to determine the exact reason. According to Bloody Elbow, the coroner’s report revealed that Ryan Gracie died of cardiorespiratory failure, possibly caused by a combination of the drugs he received and his pre-existing heart condition. The report also stated that Ryan had a history of drug abuse, and that he had traces of cocaine, marijuana, and other substances in his system.
Ryan Gracie’s death shocked and saddened the MMA and jiu-jitsu communities, as well as his family and friends. He was only 33 years old, and left behind a son, Rayron, who was born in 2001. His brothers, Renzo and Ralph, who were also MMA fighters and jiu-jitsu instructors, expressed their grief and disbelief over his loss. His father, Robson, who was a jiu-jitsu master and a son of Carlos Gracie, the founder of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, also mourned his youngest son.
Ryan Gracie’s death also raised questions about the role of the psychiatrist, Dr. Sabino, who was accused of negligence and malpractice by some of Ryan’s relatives and lawyers. They claimed that the doctor gave Ryan too many drugs, without proper supervision or consent, and that he violated the ethical and legal standards of his profession. They also alleged that the doctor had ties to the police, and that he was part of a cover-up to hide the truth about Ryan’s death. The doctor denied the allegations, and said that he acted in good faith and in accordance with the medical protocols. He also said that he was a friend of Ryan, and that he tried to help him as much as he could.
The case was investigated by the authorities, and the doctor was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing. However, some of Ryan’s supporters still believe that there was foul play involved, and that Ryan was a victim of injustice and corruption. They also claim that Ryan was not a bad person, but a misunderstood and troubled soul, who had a lot of potential and talent, but also a lot of demons and challenges.
Ryan Gracie’s legacy lives on through his son, Rayron, who is also a jiu-jitsu practitioner and a MMA fighter. In 2021, Rayron released a documentary titled Letters to my Father, which reveals his experiences growing up without his father, and his attempts to connect with him through a series of letters he wrote to him throughout his teenage years. The documentary also shows Rayron’s journey to follow his father’s footsteps, and to honor his memory and legacy.
Ryan Gracie cause of death was a tragic and controversial event, that marked the end of one of the most notorious and charismatic figures in the history of MMA and jiu-jitsu. He was a fighter, a champion, a rebel, a brother, a son, and a father. He was Ryan Gracie, the bad boy of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.