Brazilian jiu-jitsu and MMA legend Ralph Gracie has been today sentenced to six months in prison for having assaulted Flavio Almeida back in December 2018.
Brazilian news outlet Tatame first reported that a United States court sentenced Ralph Gracie to six months in prison for the assault. Gracie also received three years of probation. He was also fined $50,000, and will have to attend anger-management classes19.
The biggest controversy to hit the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu community in 2019 was the Ralph Gracie incident. For those that are unaware or don’t remember Ralph Gracie assaulted Flavio Almeida at the 2019 No-Gi World Championships.
It left a black eye on the Jiu Jitsu community and is still trying to be resolved in court. We’ll break down why the incident happened and everything that has happened up until this point.
The Alleged Assault
At the 2019 No-Gi World Jiu Jitsu Championships, Ralph Gracie and his student were caught on video assaulting Flavio Almeida. Multiple videos showed Gracie approaching Almeida as he was coaching one of his students that were competing.
Both exchanged a few words before Ralph threw an elbow shot to the side of Almeida’s head knocking him down to the floor. Gracie and his student began kicking Almeida repeatedly on the ground before others intervened.
This assault left Almeida with 3 broken teeth and a severe concussion.
Why did Ralph attack Flavio?
Apparently, there was a verbal withstanding agreement between Ralph and Gracie Barra leaders that no Gracie Barra school would be allowed to open near Ralph’s school . The alleged agreement claims that Gracie Barra would never open any schools in San Francisco, which was considered Ralph’s territory.
There were rumors of Gracie Barra opening a Jiu Jitsu school going through the San Francisco BJJ community. Ralph being the short tempered fighter of the Gracie family became irate over this rumor.
Being that Flavio Almeida is the executive director of Gracie Barra in the US, Ralph assumed it was his decision. Ralph supposedly emailed Flavio addressing this issue and with no response from Almeida it was assumed by Ralph that he ignored the email.
This led to Ralph becoming very aggressive and confronting Almeida at the Jiu Jitsu event where the assault happened.
These rumors of a Gracie Barra school opening in San Francisco seemed to be untrue. As of today, there are still no Gracie Barra schools listed in the San Francisco area. You can see from this Google map image that there aren’t any within the city.
IBJJF Issues Lifetime Bans
Once the videos of the attack surfaced, the IBJJF were quick to act and hand down a punishment. The organization gave lifetime bans to both Ralph and his student Luis Jeferson Pereira.
Neither one is allowed to compete, coach, or even step foot into another IBJJF event ever again. There is a possibility for them to appeal the ban, but neither of them has done that yet.
The Orange County District Attorney’s office issued warrants for the assault that took place at the Anaheim Convention Center. In the warrants, the DA stated that the two were charged with felony assault with the intent to do bodily harm.
Their bonds were set at $50,000 a piece and a court date to be set in the future. This was in April of 2019.
Gracie Barra also filed a civil suit on behalf of Almeida to go along with the assault charges. Dave Weber, Head of School Development and Support for Gracie Barra issued this statement to Jiu Jitsu Times.
“We feel that this, along with the civil suit that has been served, sends a strong and clear message that this old school mentality and despicable behavior will no longer be tolerated in our martial art that changes lives to all who practice it, regardless of team or affiliation.”
Ralph Missed Court Date And Indictment
Ralph missed his first scheduled court date in August of 2019. He claimed that he was attending to his 84 year old father in Brazil that had fallen ill.
Orange County Superior Court Judge Roger B. Robbins put the warrant on hold until an Oct. 15 hearing for Gracie. The rescheduled court date took place in September, where Gracie pleaded not guilty.
Jury Trial Date Set
After negotiations and a long break due to Covid-19 a date for the jury trial has been set.
If Ralph Gracie is convicted of the assault charges, he could face up to 6 months in prison and probation. There is also a restitution payment of an undisclosed amount he could pay. This doesn’t include the civil suit filed by Gracie Barra.
Hopefully there is a verdict given next year, so the Jiu Jitsu community can put it behind them. As the sport grows, there is no place for blood feuds between rival schools that end in assaults.
To keep you up to date, here is the last article on the website written about this. https://www.bjjee.com/bjj-news/ralph-gracies-case-on-assaulting-flavio-almeida-ends-without-an-agreement/
Author – Xavier Sales, Black Belt, Head instructor at Alpha Jiu Jitsu Academy Richmond, Sydney Australia, jiujitsurichmond.com.au