Carlson Gracie, Sr. (August 13, 1932 – February 1, 2006) was the eldest son of Carlos Gracie, founder of BJJ.
Carlson fought a total of eighteen vale tudo fights, with only one loss to Euclides Pereira in a fight that was held in Bahia. His first fight was against Capoeira practitioner Luiz “Cirandinha” Aguiar in this March 17, 1953. Carlson won after over an hour of fighting. His second match was a draw against Wilson “Passarito” Oliveira in May 1953. Carlson had a rematch in March 1954 in the longest fight of his career, which he won in the fifth 30 minute round. Most notable are his four matches with Valdemar Santana, who had defeated his uncle Hélio Gracie in a fabled match in May 1955. He beat Santana in the first fight avenging his family. In October 1955 Carlson fought Santana to a draw in a Jiu-Jitsu match. In 1956 and 1957 Carlson won two fights and in 1959 they fought to a draw.
Carlson Gracie trained many top competitors such as Allan Goes, Murilo Bustamante, Mario Sperry, Wallid Ismail, Pablo Popovitch, Kevin Christopher, Andre Pederneiras, Ricardo Liborio, Marcus Soares, Rodrigo Medeiros, Ricardo “Rey” Diogo, Marcelo Alonso and was also responsible for introducing and mastering Vitor Belfort into Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Carlson Gracie also trained Stephan Bonnar, a finalist in the UFC reality show The Ultimate Fighter 1. He was in Bonnar’s corner during his legendary fight against eventual The Ultimate Fighter winner Forrest Griffin.
Carlson Gracie died on February 1, 2006, in Chicago, Illinois, of heart failure, apparently the result of complications of kidney stones (and possibly his pre-existing diabetes), following a hospitalisation of several days. At the time of his death he was a ninth degree red belt and was referred to as Grandmaster. Carlson considers his proudest achievement to be the scores of students that he has instilled with his love for the sport that changed his life.