Gracie Channel shut down by YouTube

March 30, 2011

MMA Junkie reports that YouTube has shut down the Gracie Academy channel on YouTube. The UFC made a claim of copyright infringement due to the unauthorized use of copyrighted content. It was the channel’s third complaint which caused it to be shut down.


Ryron and Rener Gracie used to post up videos to their “GracieAcademy” Youtube account breaking down the intricacies of popular MMA submission victories. They went into great detail about how positions were achieved and what could have been done to avoid/escape the finishing hold.

Via MMA Junkie:

(Rener) Gracie, the son of UFC co-creator Rorian Gracie, produced a series of videos for YouTube with his brother Ryron that he said were meant to educate and entice MMA fans by demonstrating techniques used in the UFC. The videos, which he said drew between 50,000 and 100,000 views per episode, often included snippets of footage from UFC fights.

Although White said the UFC’s Las Vegas office had no part in it, YouTube on Monday shut down the Gracie Academy channel as part of its policy on users with multiple copyright infringement claims against them. The channel had previously drawn two claims from 20th Century Fox for copyrighted music.

Gracie believed the length of the UFC clips used – no more than seven seconds – put them in the category of “fair use” in U.S. copyright law, which allows for limited use of copyrighted material in certain circumstances without prior permission from its owners.

Ironically, the UFC is releasing, “UFC: Ultimate Royce Gracie” DVD. White indicated that the UFC paid Rorian Gracie a licensing fee for the footage used in the DVD.

Payout Perspective:

Although the Gracie name is synonymous with the UFC and MMA, White had to do what was right in protecting the interests of the UFC. if the UFC is taking a zero tolerance stance against piracy, it had to come down on the channel. However, as pointed out by Kelsey Philpott, it would have been nice if Zuffa could have partnered with the Gracies in embracing the channel and leverage its use to educate and attract more fans to the sport.  Many fans of the sport and BJJ enthusiasts flocked to the channel after watching UFC fights to see how moves were done.

4 Responses to “Gracie Channel shut down by YouTube”

  1. Machiel Van on March 30th, 2011 11:04 AM

    This is the ugly side of Zuffa’s business practices. I strongly disagree that they “had to come down on the channel,” regardless of their zero-tolerance for piracy. That channel was pure fan-fair, and it certainly didn’t seem that they were using it for personal gain. I will miss their demonstrations (my favorite was the one on Werdum’s submission over Fedor). I also hate when they shut down fan made highlight reels, which arguably just serve to help their business (this is NOT the same as posting a video of a full fight IMO).

    Unless Zuffa creates something that gives me the same experience as watching the Gracie’s expert insight and analysis, I consider myself robbed of some great MMA-related content that wasn’t hurting their business at all.

  2. Michael on March 30th, 2011 12:12 PM

    I think that the Gracie Videos was one of the best things that could happen to the UFC.
    They brought attention to the product, 4free, plus they got people (me at least) more interested in the submission-game, aspects of posturing and little details, which might otherwise always be considered a little more boring than standup. Also, by talking about the details of JJ in the fights, it gets you to appreciate the fighters and their techniques more, as the guys implement so many little moves Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg don’t address during the fights. So all in all the Gracie Videos shed a good light on MMA, the ufc-product and the fighters. The UFC should rather thank them.

    P.S. the videos are at least better than the old “Grappling with marc laimon” intermissions 🙂

  3. Simco on March 31st, 2011 7:32 AM

    I think the two previous comments are overlooking that it is not Zuffa’s (or Fox’s) fault that the channel used copyrighted material. That is completely up to those in control of the videos.
    Also, only one out of the three infringement claims came from Zuffa yet the two previous comments are trying to vilify Zuffa, who did the least amount of “damage” to the account. The channel was in the wrong repeatedly for using material they were not allowed to use. Fox delivered the first two claims and Zuffa only one. Of the three parties involved in this situation, Zuffa is the least culpable.

  4. Matt C. on March 31st, 2011 11:09 AM

    This will be the third time I’ve submitted this response. For some reason it says my comment is under review and then it’s not getting posted. If there is a reason for this post to not get posted please send me an e-mail explaining why to me.

    Rener Gracie sent this tweet to Dana:

    @danawhite the Gracie Breakdowns were intended to educate #UFC fans. What can we do to make it work?

    Dana responded with this:

    @RenerGracie just landed in chicago. I just followed u. Dm me with ur number and let’s talk.

    So it’s looks like they could be talking and working something out.

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