Team Alliance has reportedly cut its ties with beleaguered jiu jitsu coach Lloyd Irvin Jr.
According to several sources, the team is no longer associated with Team Lloyd Irvin and no members of TLI will be teaching or training at the Team Alliance gym in San Diego from now on, although apparently UFC fighter Mike Easton has leave to train at Team Alliance and to continue to train at Team Lloyd Irvin separately if he so chooses.
Irvin, best known in the MMA world for his work with Brandon Vera and Dominick Cruz, has recently been featured in numerous reports regarding his past activities and his current method of operating his team.
The spark was a New Year’s Eve incident in which two members of Team Lloyd Irvin raped a female team mate on their way home from a party. She was drunk almost to the point of unconsciousness and when the attack was finished, was left comatose in a backstreet car park.
As the story began to circulate widely on the internet it caused reports resurfacing of a trial that he himself was put through after being accused of rape in 1989. The female plaintiff said she was raped by numerous men at a house party at which Irvin was present.
Irvin was acquitted after saying that, while he had wanted to have sex with the woman – who he said consented to sex with all the men present – he was unable to achieve erection and thus could not do so. His fellow defendants were all convicted.
As the online chatter about the New Year’s Eve incident and Irvin’s own 1989 trial increased, Irvin’s response was to buy up url names such as LloydIrvinRape.com and quickly create websites for them, advertising rape-prevention seminars.
This was seen as a very cynical move and brought condemnation from much of the BJJ community. This in turn led to associates of Lloyd Irvin springing to defend him. Some went so far as to claim that both the 1989 plaintiff and the girl who was raped on New Year’s Eve had wanted the sex and had afterwards felt ashamed and falsely cried rape.
Following this, and deafening silence from Irvin, former Lloyd Irvin team members started leveling accusations of their own against Irvin. Some pointed to a cult-like atmosphere within the team while others criticized Irvin’s marketing methods as being cynical and money-obsessed.
Perhaps the most damaging was from former Irvin protégé Ryan Hall. In a lengthy missive entitled “Open letter to the martial arts community”, Hall did not reference Irvin by name but made it clear by reference to his own career that Irvin was the subject of his critique, which can be found here.
Irvin is famous for his effective marketing and sales methods, which involve heavy use of testimonials. One of Hall’s comments regarding marketing was that “a group of ten people independently endorsing one another can seem very compelling until you realize that they are incentivized to do it and probably met behind your back to orchestrate the whole thing.”
Eventually Irvin responded via an open letter which was published by GracieMag.com, a predominatly BJJ-focused website. It can be read here. Regarding his buying of LloydIrvinRape.com – which would become the top result whenever anyone searched that term online – he said the following:
“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.”
Irvin’s statement on GracieMag.com also revealed that the girl who was raped on New Year’s Eve had chosen to stay with the school and that his public silence had been because alls his “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.”
Irvin also denied “accusations that I am “fostering” some sort of environment that makes people do horrific things”, pointing out that “one of the accused had been with me for barely a month and the other for a total time of barely seven months.”
“According to a source, Irvin also recently held a meeting with a portion of his team… The former student continued, “Lloyd told us he had paid for Matthew Maldonado and Nick Schultz’s lawyer retainer when they initially were arrested. And we were given specific instructions to not to tell anyone he did that.”
A second source also said that Irvin arranged for Maldonado’s and Schultz’s defense, stating, “He hired the lawyers. 100% it’s a fact. I was there at the meeting, I sat in on it, I heard it. 100%. There’s no lies to it, he hired the lawyers.”
News of Dominick Cruz and Brandon Vera severing their ties comes initially via Dave Meltzer at Wrestling Observer.