Official Lloyd Irvin Statement

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An Open Letter From Lloyd Irvin
Regarding The Reported Events Of New Years Eve 2012 &
The Ensuing Conversation About Himself & His Team
During The First Half Of January 2013

I first want to apologize.

I want to apologize
to my mother,
to my father,
to my wife
to my son for my silence.

The public taunting & harassing phone calls you have received
are undeserved and my recent silence is partly to blame.

I have in fact made statements in the local news
but those statements have not reached everyone
in our BJJ & MMA family and this is the reason my silence ends today…

I want to apologize to every one of my friends, family and supporters who have suffered threats and degradation in my silence.

I apologize to my team and to everyone who has supported me in these last few weeks.  It has been my family and your letters, phone calls, emails and texts have kept me going.

My ongoing support of my student who has suffered immeasurably, has occupied much of my thoughts and time in these past few weeks.   And as we have unwaveringly shown her… her team, my family and I are there for her in every way.

She and I have been in consistent contact and she has been back in the gym with us again.

Her strength and resolve in the face of what has happened is truly one of the most humbling and inspiring experiences of my life.

I have shared with her my feelings on the matter and both of us are focused and committed to supporting her full recovery and violence prevention for ALL women going forward … I’ll speak to you more about that later in this letter.

One of my biggest priorities in these past couple of weeks has been to express to her my sincere and deepest apology.  And that too is what this letter is about.

I want to publicly apologize to her for me not knowing, not sensing, and not having the awareness to know that this was even possible.

My wife keeps saying I couldn’t have known,
my mom says I couldn’t have known.

Everyone I’ve confided in said I couldn’t have known,
but that doesn’t change my wishing I could have.

They keep saying the same thing over and over…

any reasonable person would understand that you couldn’t have known.

And that may be true but while that’s a convenient position to take,

the truth is I didn’t know and I wish I had.
I will go to my grave wishing someone ELSE from my team
would have been there for her that night.

My counselors will have to deal with any fallout from this letter, as they have advised against making this statement but I simply cannot let my friends and family be left to hang in the breeze like this anymore.

I also want to publicly apologize to my team.

Young men and women I love with all my heart and soul.

I wish for YOU that I could have foreseen this and made new years eve not happen.

Please know that no matter what is said about me…

you have been and remain the most honorable, supportive & special people I have ever known… I’m proud to have you represent my school and wear our colors.

I promise you that I will do everything in my power to clear the air so you may have free passage to attain the goals we’ve promised each other we’d attain together.

That all being said, in answer to the question…

“Why have I been silent on this?”

To put it simply, my focus has been on my team…

most of all, I have at my school a dear friend, student & team member
who’s had an unimaginably horrible experience and
my only desire is to care for, support and help her.

I have promised her that I will do everything in my power to avoid this happening ever again within the influence of my organization/team.

It should be clearly and simply noted…

I nor anyone else on my current team or staff had ANYTHING at all to do with what is reported to have happened New Years Eve.

It has been reported that a video (as of the time I am releasing this letter, I have not seen the video nor has the case been resolved) that was described in the recent court documents shows that this was a deplorable and disgraceful act committed by two individuals who acted OUTSIDE the code of honor of our team, NOT within it.

As for the accusations that I am “fostering” some sort of environment that makes people do horrific things…

One of the accused had been with me for barely a month and the other for a total time of barely seven months…

Anyone who feels that there is some sort of subversive environment being taught and encouraged on our team should realize the level of insult and disrespect they are directing not towards me but the truly honorable athletes and human beings that make up our school… both competitors and non-competitors alike.

I want to repeat,

my singular concern and effort right now (and much of the reason why I have not spoken to date) is caring for and supporting my teammate and friend who is recovering

In addition my focus is actively engaging as many people and resources as possible to understand more about how these things happen and what if anything we can do to directly impact these situations before they ever happen.

I don’t know much about what, how or why new years eve happened…
I wish I did and I think it unwise to pressure her about all of these details
at this point as she’s got enough to deal with.

Certainly as the trial progresses we will all learn more.

All I can say is I feel sadness for the depraved and misguided individuals who would suggest that this is part of what we teach.

It’s an insult to the young women and men on my team who have never behaved in any way other than exemplary.  Especially the young woman who most deserves our respect and support.

This young woman who needs my support, my team’s support and your support should be the ONLY thing we are talking about, thinking about & praying about right now but unfortunately as you know I have become a significant portion of this discussion for something that happened in 1989.

From this point forward I anticipate that
anything I say will be ripped apart and shredded by those who either
have an axe to grind,
aren’t focused on prevention of violence/rape against women or
even may simply not care about the truth.

I don’t expect ANYTHING less.

But its simply unfair to this truly remarkable woman and unfair to the rest of my supporters and team to not tell my side of this story.

The TRUE side of this story.

For those of you who hate me or who have judged me…

what I’m about to say is not for you.

You have passed your judgment and
I don’t expect to be able to undo that but

The truth is that nobody knows much of the real story of
new years eve 2012 nor the incident of 1989 at all.

This letter is simply for those who have believed in me or at the very least
reserved judgment until having more knowledge of the situation.

For those who have and continue to support me this is also so that
you know your belief in me was not and is not misplaced.

I also want to add that I’m writing this letter as though I was writing a letter to my son.

The one person I MOST want to understand my position and gain the wisdom I didn’t have.

What I am about to share with you IS an eyewitness account of what REALLY happened 23 years ago.

I’m not going to give you the sugar coated version some have told me to give I’m simply going to tell you the truth, the same truth I told 23 years ago

So for starters…

I was once 20 years old
I did things 20 year olds do…
drank too much,
partied too much,

Probably not unlike many 20 year olds,
I made more than my share of dumb choices.

I hadn’t found martial arts yet.

(I was 3 when I took my first martial arts class
but I didn’t make it the cornerstone of my life until 1996
at that time I still hadn’t learned how to be a leader)

I’m not saying this to excuse my choices and decisions,
as that’s simply not possible.

I am saying my life and my foundation was different as an uncertain 20 year old
than it is now as a father, husband and mentor at 43.

Recently some people have decided to believe things about me and
the 1989 incident that are absolutely positively untrue….

and this is what I’d like to speak to next…

I cannot control what you believe nor will I try.

I can only tell the truth.

I told the truth 23 years ago
to my mother
to my father and
under oath in a court of law
and I’m telling the truth today.

I’m telling you the same thing I told the jury
and the truth that is STILL on record.

The facts are the facts and glossing over the fact that
I did NOT rape nor have sex with ANYONE involved in the 1989 incident
cannot and should not be brushed under the carpet.

I told the 100% unadulterated truth,
just as I’m sharing with you right now.

I did NOT “get off on a technicality” as some want to say.

Please understand…
Before my trial in 1989 I was offered a plea bargain for “lesser time”…

the prosecutors told my father point blank…

“Mr. Irvin we are going to give your son
a lesser penalty if he admits
he is a rapist and if he doesn’t
we will lock him up and put him away for a very long time.”

I talked to my mom and my dad.

I was a kid.
I didn’t know what to do.
Terrified is the only word that comes close.

I’ve never seen my dad cry in my entire life not before and not since…
but I remember his breath on my face and his tears in his eyes…

“Son, are you guilty of rape?”

Just the words coming flatly from your father’s mouth …
eye to eye
I still tremble today just remembering it.

I said “no, no dad I didn’t rape her, I didn’t.”
And with that he said…

“then you will not say you did.”

And so like my father taught me from the first time I could walk,
I went and told the truth and as a result….
I was not convicted.  I was innocent.

It’s the SAME truth I am sharing with you today…
It will be the same thing I will eventually tell my son.

I can only hope that you,
my BJJ and MMA brothers and sisters,
judge me based on this truth of what actually happened 23 years ago.

Not what some want to presume, guess or assume happened.

I don’t know that this is necessary and my actions and behavior as well as the actions and behavior of ALL but two of my shortest tenured students should demonstrate this…

But just in case it is necessary I want everyone reading this to know without ANY uncertainty what so ever…

I am 100% against rape, attempted rape or any other form of violence against women.  I don’t support it, don’t condone it and don’t enable an environment that would ever have anything to do with it.

Part of me wants to take you point by point bit by bit over the hundreds of hours of testimony and reams of media coverage to demonstrate how little has actually been revealed to date about the night of the incident, actual testimony and the trial.

But revisiting & rehashing every detail from the case 23 years ago would be nothing but selfish on my part (especially a case whose conclusion found me innocent of all charges).

I feel doing that does nothing productive for the BJJ and MMA community I care so much about, nothing productive for the men and women of my team and most of all nothing productive for healing needed for the woman my total focus and support is on right now.

The next most common question I hear
people asking is multiple forms of…  “What about now?”

Would I do things differently?
Have I done things differently?
Would I make different choices?
Have I made different choices?
Does this alter how I counsel my son?
Has any of this effected how I counsel my team members in efforts to help them choose the right path?

Absolutely YES to all of it.

I can’t change what’s happened.
I wish I was wiser then.

I have been and AM changing what’s happened every moment since.

Especially for these last 16 years …

…and as part of that continued changing
will be my deep and sincere
commitment to the woman who needs our support most right now
and my promise to spend
the rest of my days doing what I can to
prevent any woman from ever
experiencing anything even remotely similar.

People are often quick to say “actions speak louder than words”…
and in this case I have 16 years of publicly visible
actions as a martial artist, as a teacher, a coach,
a husband, a father, a mentor and an advocate…

and in the end while my actions don’t ERASE the past,
those actions DO demonstrate the DIFFERENCE between
the man writing this statement and
the boy who failed to live up to the standards his mother and father set for him.

I have been posed with two most common questions over these last few weeks.

1) “Why have I hidden this all this time?”

Well to be frank…

please ask yourself to remember the most embarrassing and frightening moment of your entire life and then ask yourself exactly where is it appropriate in EVERY relationship you engage in to bring up that moment/circumstance for the rest of your life.

My wife has known about 1989 since we first met.
My closest friends have known for years.
Even some of my enemies have known.
Nothing about this has been hidden.

Which leads to the second question…

2) Why did I buy and put up the website url that I purchased and put rape prevention seminar information on it shortly after all the news broke regarding New Years Eve?

For this I can do nothing other than apologize 100%.
I was wrong.
The timing was horrible and
I completely dropped the ball.

The long and short of it was this…
The reason I purchased the url was singular.

I didn’t like the tone and tenor of things online
(but still felt I could not speak publicly about anything)
and I simply didn’t want someone else in control of
the name my Son and I share in association with
the current or 1989 situation.

Beyond that my intention was honorable
but the execution and timing were awful
As everyone can see,
the moment I realized this,, it was taken down…

I have been an ADVOCATE for women for all my life in the martial arts.

The martial arts have been my entire life since 1996
when I finally grew up enough for it to stop being a hobby and
it became my life’s foundation.

Anyone who knows me KNOWS this to be 100% TRUE.

And since being told about New Years Eve
my resolve and commitment to doing MORE than I EVER have before
in this area of women’s advocacy against violence has grown RADICALLY.

Bottom line is I am 100% guilty of poor timing and taste
when it comes to the url and what was posted.

I spoke to the woman involved new years eve
about this and told her my sincere intentions…

I vow to absolutely make rape & violence against women prevention an
even more major cornerstone of my future efforts.

Understand that my rape-prevention program has ALWAYS been completely free,
its not a marketing gimmick as some accusers have said.

I didn’t realize it was possible but
I promise you that my sensitivity to rape & violence against women prevention
has now been made stronger than ever before.

If there is any good that can come of all of this
it’s the fact that we are all talking more about rape & violence prevention against women, EDUCATION OF MEN and how to create environments and relationships that keep violence from being used off the mat.

If you believe what I’ve shared here,
I thank you for your support and I apologize for taking so long to speak out.

If you don’t believe me,
all I ask is that you spare my wife, my mom, my dad and my son any venom you have towards me.

In closing,

I want to directly and specifically speak to my brothers and sisters in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu community.  I am sorry, truly sorry for the shadow this casts over our great art, sport and lifestyle that we lead.

Many people have their opinions and say what they will about my team and my school and my approach to things.

But one thing nobody can say is that I don’t have a deep passion and commitment to and for our art, sport and our community.

And its with that passion and commitment that I promise every one of you with all my heart and soul that while I would not and did not commit nor encourage nor enable anything that would ever hurt, harm or violate one of my own friends and team members.

I will move heaven and earth to understand what happened and why it happened.   And should I discover ANYTHING that can be done to prevent new years eve from happening ever again I promise with the tenacity and commitment I have become known for, I will make any and all necessary changes.

I will spend every waking moment finding ways to make sure everyday from this day forward Team Lloyd Irvin brings enough light back to our community to drown out the darkness of these last few weeks.

On this you have my word.

Lastly, If you really want to know what MY philosophy about my team, my school, my responsibilities as a martial arts instructor and the martial arts REALLY is…

If you want to know what’s happening
to ‘the water and the fish in the bowl’…

watch this video…

I AGREE 100% with their thoughts on what I face and every instructor faces going forward when it comes to what we want for our students and what our responsibilities are to our students, our art, our sport and our community.

During the video at 28:26 he says

“this has to be a wake up call”…

he’s right… it does… and it is…
and I promise you
I will make things better for us all or die trying.

My sincere thanks to both of these men for making this video
and the honor they bring to our BJJ family.

I sincerely thank you for your time and your attention,

Lloyd Irvin Jr.



For several weeks now you (our Jiu Jitsu community) have been asking us to cover the terrible story unfolding in Maryland regarding two team Lloyd Irvin members and a separate story involving Lloyd Irvin himself.

We until now have responded simply by saying that we felt other outlets were covering the story. Its not a positive story and while we are a news outlet we really feel we are more than anything a source for putting our sport and art in a good and positive light.

That all being said you our readers have made it very clear that you want our point of view on this matter and today is the day we had decided to publish a small commentary simply as a gesture to you because there have been so many requests and as a leader in our sport and art we felt an obligation to listen to you.

Those plans changed however when this morning I received a phone call from none other than Lloyd Irvin Jr. himself asking me if we’d be willing to publish a statement from him.

Considering all the conjecture and questions out there we figured “from the horses mouth” was better than anything we could offer at this time so here is what Lloyd Irvin Jr. himself had to say to me and to us about what’s come to light and transpired over these last 3 weeks.

Also, here you can read how our C.E.O. Luca Atalla addresses the case.

Ler matéria completa Read more
There are 45 comments for this article
  1. Paul Moran at 4:38 am

    Many people have said that you were a guest at Lloyd's last marketing event. What financial and/or business ties do you and/or GracieMag have with Lloyd Irvin? If there are any it should be noted in your article.

    • Luca Atalla at 6:25 am

      Disclosure: I was invited to speak in his event, didn't pay nor was paid to speak. We never were paid to write any stories on him or his team, and the first story about Lloyd in our pages dated of 1999. Hopefully it helps. Thanks.

    • Jacob Martinez at 7:08 am

      Chloé Cornelius Chloe dont give up we are all behind you!!! Luca in fact attended Lloyd Irvins seminar and has business ties with him. Luca stated " Its not a positive story and while we are a news outlet we really feel we are more than anything a source for putting our sport and art in a good and positive light." However now that this letter is written only to help Lloyd's business he decides to publish it!. The Devils greatest accomplishment was convincing the world that he didnt exist!

    • Dino Velvet at 4:43 pm

      I am saying there appear to exist hypocrisy on both sides of this issue. Interesting how people decry Mr. Irvin for his silence; now that he has spoken people are upset that he has been given a forum to do so. Make up your minds.

    • Sarah Smith at 4:31 pm

      no one here has complained that his "apology" was posted. they are complaining that a leading news source in this community has decided to keep their mouths shut about this awful incident, except for to give him a place to speak. this is clearly not a "news outlet", as the writer would like you to believe, but rather just another place for the boy's club to get together and talk about boy's club stuff. you know, like raping girls. i don't need to spend any effort discrediting the writer, he has clearly done that himself both in the article and in his petty, short tempered, immature responses to the comments here.

    • Dino Velvet at 11:43 pm

      Sarah Smith

      Sarah Smith""" they are complaining that a leading news source in this community has decided to keep their mouths shut about this awful incident, except for to give him a place to speak. this is clearly not a "news outlet""""""

      Either GracieMag is location where you can obtain information, i.e, a "news source" or even a "news outlet" or it is not, you need to make up your mind. It appears you have also been given a choice to speak on "GRACIE MAG" reference the top of the screen; hence you are actively expressing your views on a "news outlet" webpage.

      Sarah Smith"""""but rather just another place for the boy's club to get together and talk about boy's club stuff. you know, like raping girls."""""

      This is just emotional rhetoric that borders on lunacy – Only in BJJ does stuff like this go on; take professional Football for example, if some NFL player ends up blowing his brains out or kills his entire family, do they start blaming the COACH of the team for it? Like I said, only in BJJ do they personally hold the coach (an independent moral agent) responsible for the moral acts of his students. What about the good things his students do, do those go in the + column of LLyod Irvin? I am just trying to figure out how it works because I really don't get it. It can be said that LLyod Irvin has made some poor choices, no doubt, but I don't "get" how you can make sweeping generalizations about "boys club getting together and talking about raping girls", that is just pure nonsense. If anyone is short tempered, IT IS YOU.

      Sarah Smith "" i don't need to spend any effort discrediting the writer, he has clearly done that himself both in the article and in his petty, short tempered, immature responses to the comments here."""

      Thanks Gracie Mag, I just want to let you know that only someone who is MENTALLY ILL would hold you responsible for the actions of two disturbed individuals that, given their guilt, deserve to be locked up for MANY years.

    • Bryan Pipoca Marty at 9:47 pm

      Sarah Smith are you serious? I can't believe people like this are allowed to post! Half these people on here just HATE lloyd irvin, they hate so much they want to complain on an event that he wasn't involved with and then try to bring up the content of his character on an event that occurred 25 years ago when he wasn't the man he is today. (WHICH HE WASN'T CONVICTED OF!) (BTW @oliver david if you weren't there you have no idea what your talking about.)

      Then, at the same time, Rener & Ryron gracie give great response and guidance to the bjj community, but they never address the type of "fish" that can even train in beverly hills or Torrence. The people lloyd irvin takes in are not nearly from economically sufficient places as the Torrence academy yet they can train. If you let everyone train from every demographic, you will have statistically a greater chance one of them will go awry without the proper guidance over a long period of time. I'd like to see anybody else's body of work or social championing in the community they live in compare to Mr. Irvin's over the past decade (from helping kids, to rape prevention, to competition, to helping others with their business models,) I'm sick of these self righteous ass-holes on here talking about how against rape they are when they really are trying to just destroy someones character they hated to begin with. If they were so concerned they probably would have realized the victim supports her instructor, ( a person you've already demonized b/c you know so much.) Again, you don't want the truth, you just like trolling on somebody you've always hated and now you have the perfect opportunity to try and bring them down to your level. Don't even try and respond as if you cared about the rape, because most of you one here clearly don't. PUKE! I just threw up from everybody's self-righteousness, i'm going to bed before it happens again.

  2. Pingback: Lloyd Irvin: Rape is Never Forgiven | Lex's BJJ and Judo Blog
  3. Emilio Samartin at 5:59 am

    I have never met Mr. Irvin nor really been a fan. I do however appreciate the difficult position he is now in and the apparent guilt he feels in not knowing this could happen in his school. I pray for the victim Mr. Irvin and the students in his school that God will lead them out of this dark valley.

  4. Olivier David at 8:58 am

    Personally I think being present at a rape and not doing anything (at most) displays a certain kind of attitude. This all of course is based on the information provided about the 1989 gang rape case. I'm no so called hater, I followed Lloyd Irvin's projects with interest and an open mind BUT this letter doesn't convince me at all about especially about his role in the 1989 case. Also I would like to know if Graciemag and Lloyd Irvin have financial/business ties.

    • Sarah Smith at 4:36 pm

      "certain kind of attitude" is putting it mildly. it is up to you guys, the men in this community, to call each other out on this stuff. he wasn't just present, he admitted to wanting/trying to rape her. i appreciate your skepticism but i would love to see you to do/say more. as a female i can only have so much impact on the way these men think, unfortunately.

    • Olivier David at 3:34 am

      Sarah Smith "certain kind of attitude" is not mild at all since somebody who (at least) was present when a person was raped not doing anything (except wanting to participate) displays in MY eyes the lowest kind of character I can imagine. However it's up to any individual to judge this case by themself – it's not my place to force anyone what they have to think, feel or do.
      For the future I won't support any product or project from Lloyd Irvin or anyone associated with him. I also encourage everyone else to do the same if you think Lloyd Irvin doesn't have any values and does harm to the society and martial arts community.

    • Sarah Smith at 9:59 pm

      i definitely appreciate your views on this, olivier david. i'm not trying to say it's your responsibility to change the way other people think(i am fully aware of how exhausting and trying that can be), but men like you, who have a more well rounded understanding of this situation as a whole, can make more difference than anyone else in these conversations. without (truly) honest conversation with the people who don't understand the weight of this situation is the only way society, men and women both, are going to change the way they look at these circumstances from the start.

  5. Greg Bledsoe at 5:19 pm

    I'm sorry Lloyd, but this isn't enough. The facts that came to light about the 1989 case are horrific, and all you've done here is blame the victim, again, just like Phil Proctor, and played the victim yourself. This does nothing to help redeem your image in the minds of most.

  6. Sarah Smith at 4:22 pm

    "you must never judge people because no one is perfect." we're not talking about someone losing their temper, or failing to pay their taxes. this guy is an awful human being, and if the men in his community don't let him know how despicable his words and actions) are then you are contributing to this society. rape society. it's a real thing.

  7. Jessie Brown at 5:35 am

    The degree of rape apologists in response to this letter, speaks volumes on the rape culture of this country. We shouldn't judge people? What a load of shit. We, everyone!, judges people all the time. If we don't hold each other accountable for our actions (or inactions), then who will? God? The Courts? Someone else but you and me? Please, get off it.

  8. Pingback: Dangers of Tribalism in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Martial Arts, and Life in General « The Jiu-Jitsu Vortex
  9. Sean Redmond at 3:25 pm

    Its so funny how everyone becomes so sanctimonious and judgmental when they were NOT present this incident. The crux of the issue lies in the fact that there are forces at work who are taking advantage of a CRIME against a young women that Lloyd Irvin had NOTHING to do with.. Parents cannot prevent their own children from breaking the law how could Lloyd logically be expected to account for the inner demons of some young men after a night of drinking when he was NOT even present? This is THINLY veiled opportunism and really betrays the depths that jealousy and envy can drive the truly depraved..

    • Sean Redmond at 8:59 pm

      Yes I have and Lloyd is not even the accused, and are you the one who was raped? I am NOT swayed by emotional appeals of those with an agenda I have not heard you discuss or berate the individuals ACTUALLY accused of rape you are simply focusing on the high profile individual with whom they are associated…. Whine all you want you will NEVER blind me to the underlying motivations that I see in play!! Trying to take down a successful man… NONE of you are accountable for the actions of other adults and you certainly don't know what happened 20 years ago PRIOR to you even hearing the name Lloyd Irvin.. Lloyd is NOT on trial, he is NOT convicted of anything I just here a bunch of commoners trying to disguise their jealousy via sanctimony!

    • Steve Smitan at 9:12 pm

      Reading that statement, I feel like he's mistaken a course in rape prevention for a course in paragraph prevention.

    • Sarah Smith at 8:41 pm

      bah, sean, if you weren't so completely far off and hopeless i might take the time to try and explain why everything you have said here is so very, very completely wrong. unfortunately making the world a less awful and ignorant place one person at a time is totally exhausting, so instead i'll settle for hoping that by some grace you are sterile, in the testicle area, so no daughter of yours ever has to grown up trying to wade through the harmful bullshit that is her father's life perspective.

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