UFC Vet Who Spat at 10th Planet Black Belt Because of “Lockdown” Explains His Side of Story

UFC Vet Who Spat at 10th Planet Black Belt Because of “Lockdown” Explains His Side of Story

At the recent IBJJF Atlanta Spring Open, a controversy erupted involving former UFC fighter and decorated BJJ black belt, Rafael Assunção, and 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu black belt, Matt Walsh. The conflict centered around a grappling technique and its interpretation under the competition’s rules, culminating in a dramatic and heated conclusion.

During their match, Walsh employed the “lockdown” position—a legitimate move within IBJJF rules intended to immobilize an opponent by entangling their leg. However, the situation escalated when Walsh allegedly executed a “knee reap,” a move where the leg is twisted across an opponent’s body, placing dangerous pressure on the knee joint. Knee reaps are expressly prohibited in the black belt masters divisions of IBJJF competitions, due to their potential to cause serious injury. Walsh apparently reaped the Asuncao’s knee and the referee stopped the match, disqualifying Walsh. Under IBJJF rules, in black belt masters divisions, you cannot reap the knee nor use heel hooks (You can at adult brown and black belt).

The referee, observing the illegal maneuver, promptly stopped the match and disqualified Walsh, a decision that sparked immediate controversy given the high stakes of the competition. Assunção, visibly agitated by what he perceived as a flagrant violation of the rules that endangered his safety, confronted Walsh post-match. In a moment of heated exchange, Assunção resorted to spitting and hurling insults, including derogatory comments about Walsh’s affiliation with 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu, further intensifying the altercation. Asuncao said: “All you 10th planet guys are pussies!”

The incident took an even more severe turn when Assunção had Walsh escorted out of the venue by security. Walsh expressed his frustration and perceived unfairness, citing bias due to the referee’s nationality and alleged friendship with Assunção, which he believed influenced the decision to involve law enforcement.

Walsh stated: “Yeah some fat Brazilian ref who was friends with my opponent had cops come in to take me away.”

This incident has not only stirred discussions on the enforcement of rules and sportsmanship within the BJJ community but also highlighted the tension between traditional Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners and the innovative approaches of schools like 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu. The fallout from this event is likely to prompt a closer examination of rule enforcement, referee impartiality, and the conduct expected of competitors at high-level BJJ tournaments. Further details and official responses from the involved parties and the IBJJF are anticipated as they address this contentious episode.


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Asuncao posted on his IG story offering his side of the story:

Raphael Asuncao said:

“A quick message to whoever saw the videos of me spitting at the guy at the IBJJF Open in Atlanta. This guy disrespected me on the mats, he popped my knee illegally, and then I asked him, ‘Hey man, why you guys got to watch you move?’ and he says that his gym are known for doing that type of move. So I reply back and ultimately he said that he can show me much more than just popping my knee in the parking lot. I lost my temper, I chased him down and I asked him, ‘Hey, you told me that you will show me much more in the parking lot,’ and he chickened out.

So, he acted like a coward, and I just acted like I spit on him. To summarize a story from Sunday at the IBJJF Open, this guy’s Instagram looks like his main quote is ‘We smoke weed and pop knees,’ and he had thrown me that on the mat after he got disqualified, and that’s when I replied and then he replied back saying that we can meet at the parking lot and stuff. So when I saw him in person, face to face, he acted like a girl. I probably shoved him and people broke us apart. I kind of got away, I saw some kids around, women, and that’s when I was like, ‘Okay, I’m not…’ and then I just acted like, ‘Man, you deserve it, you’re trash, you deserve to be spit on,’ I went like that.

Regarding his injury from the lockdown:

And just one more quick quote, the reason why I chose to compete in the IBJJF Federation after retiring from the UFC is because of the rule system, how everything is structured, everything is nice, everything’s clean, and then I’m faced with this situation. It’s okay, I guess, a learning process. And last but not least, I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow to get an MRI on my left knee with Dr. Barber, hopefully, it’s not what we think it is.”

Watch the incident:


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