You can’t call yourself a true MMA fan if you’re not familiar with Wallid Ismail and his beef with Ryan Gracie which has perhaps given the MMA world the greatest sound bite ever. In a time when the Gracies were running things in the jiu-jitsu game, Wallid Ismail stepped up and defeated Royce Gracie, Ralph Gracie and Renzo Gracie. Then in 1999, the feud began. In November of 1999, Ryan Gracie agreed to fight Wallid Ismail in WEC on Janurary 2000 so he moved to New York to train with Renzo Gracie. Wallid Ismail had to pull out of the fight because he was on the verge of signing off on another fight with Pride FC sometime early in 2000. The Pride FC contract fell through and Wallid signed on to the WEC fight with only six weeks notice but Ryan Gracie suddenly dropped out of their bout. In December of 1999, both fighters unexpectedly met at PePe beach and nearly scrapped on the sand and a few days later Ryan came to Wallid Ismail’s gym to confront him. Dude constantly reached into his fanny pack (yeah, 10 years ago people still rocked fanny packs) and threatened to pull a gun on Wallid (later it was discovered dude didnt have a gun in his fanny pack). Wallid Ismail backed down and Ryan Gracie eventually left the gym.
On October 2000, Wallid Ismail and Ryan Gracie crossed paths at the after party for the Bad Boy fashion show in Brazil. The reports are a little cloudy, but the general consensus is that Ryan Gracie and a few dudes snuck up on Wallid Ismail and caught him off guard. Wallid’s boys eventually jumped in and the fight ended with Wallid Ismail guillotine choking Ryan Gracie.
The next year, Wallid Ismail and Ryan Gracie agreed to fight on a WEC card that was planned for April 2001. Everything was good until Ryan Gracie was arrested after stabbing a man in a bar fight in February, needless to say…he dropped out again from the Wallid Ismail fight. Unfortunately, Ryan Gracie died in a jail cell in Brazil from an apparent overdose so the MMA world will never get to see an official Wallid Ismail vs. Ryan Gracie showdown (one that didn’t happen in a bar at least).
However, we are blessed with two of the greatest interviews of all time…both of which belong to Wallid Ismail. If you’re drinking milk, be warned that it will immediately eject out of your nose after listening to these interviews.
If your neck hasn’t exploded in laughter at the previous interview, check out Stephen Quadros bringing up the one name that is guaranteed to get Ismail heated. Got to love it.