Lloyd Irvin Rape Incident

I didn’t want to comment on this incident, much like gun control after the Newtown shooting, but the questions weighed too heavily on my mind. There are two situations here:

  1. On New Year’s eve, January 1, 2013 two Lloyd Irvin students raped a girl.
  2. In 1989, Lloyd Irvin was present for a gang rape of a 17 year old girl. (A good write-up of the details).

lloyd_irvinHow do either of these reflect on Lloyd Irvin as a man and as a coach? The people that have come to his defense so far have chosen their words poorly. But I asked myself many questions on these two incidents as I was stuck at home for several days with high fever, watching Keenan have a brilliant performance against the world’s best black belts over the weekend.

I think basically many people are waiting for the dust to settle, and for Lloyd Irvin to address the community on the facts of the situation and his place in it all.

In terms of sport jiu jitsu, I have a tremendous amount of respect for his team and his carefully orchestrated training system. The emphasis on dedication to technique through drilling and hard training is the stuff that makes top level competitors of anyone willing to put in the work (immense amount of work).

And so, as I was processing all these events, I was also thinking about Joe Paterno, a man who I admire as a coach as well. The question that weighed most heavily on me is how do moral failings in the realm of sex fit with the greatness of a man in the realm of sport? Does the former override the value of the latter? Same as with Joe Paterno, it’s not Lloyd Irvin’s action but his lack of action to stop wrong-doing and not speaking up at the right time that people have condemned him for.

Rape is a crime that for 99.99% of our civilization has gone unpunished, and has been used to terrorize not just individuals but whole populations. The 20th century has seen the law in the western world crash hard against the brutality of rape: a situation that often has only one supporting witness: the victim. So, modern progressive society has slowly started to err on the side of the victim when uncertain, because the cost of being wrong is too great. But the victim is still often pressured, bullied, and vilified.

I am unwilling to too hastily condemn the man as many have. I want to hear him speak about it, and I want to hear the full story in whatever form that’s still possible 24 years later. Perhaps that is my moral failing and I’m being naive. I continue to struggle with this. The only thing I can say with certainty is that I hope the two rapists in the New Years eve incident (if found guilty) will go to jail for a long time, and that the victim can find peace and recover to good sanity and good health.

0 thoughts on “Lloyd Irvin Rape Incident

  1. Link

    Without the need to knowing all the specifics regarding this or any other situation similar to this, I will just say few things about the attitude and behavior of subordinates in an organization or institution. There is a proverb: “The fish stinks from the head”. What the subordinates do and say reflect much of the attitude of the person in charge of the organization. Especially in a martial art field at a high level, where the training is no less than five days a week, if the head places just 10% of the effort they put into chasing result in competition into moral education, things like this wouldn’t happen. There is no true honor, especially for two accomplished athletes. Good competition result does not mean the possession of a sense of honor. Once upon a time, teachers screened their students before accepting them, now anyone who pays can stay.

    1. Lex Post author

      From what I’ve seen Lloyd Irvin does teach respect to fellow athletes and fellow human beings. “The fish stinks from the head” is just not something you can say for a single case. If it’s a frequent occurrence that’s another thing, but this is a one-time event. Any organization will have its bad apples. These guys weren’t 5 days a week. They were multiple times a day. So they were intimately involved. I just don’t believe you can make that connection. It may be true, but not in every case, and I would need to see evidence of it. When you said “without the need to knowing all the specifics”, I believe your argument became much weaker. Such accusations require specifics, which are hard to come by. Your point is well made though. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

      1. Incredulous

        “From what I’ve seen Lloyd Irvin does teach respect to fellow athletes and fellow human beings. ”

        – Fake high-five takedowns to begin matches
        – Fake countdowns in matches
        – 97% losers vs. 3% winner mentality
        – Fuck the “haters” mentality
        – Marcos Avellan insulting Keenan’s family
        – Phil Proctor calling a rape victim a “dirty whore who got to feeling guilty”

        Yes, these are certainly the symptoms of someone teaching respect.

        Get real. He teaches an insular philosophy that reduces anyone on the outside of the cult to the dismissive moniker of “hater,” at which point they feel comfortable ignoring facts and common decency.

        1. Lex Post author

          Thanks for contributing. You may be more correct than I was. I judge on a small set of interactions I had with the medal chasers.

      2. DefGrappler

        Lex, I think you misunderstand what Bloody Elbow and others are saying about the 1990 Lloyd Irvin rape case.

        Lloyd himself testified that he was in the room after several people had sex with her, while another person was having sex with her and that he wanted to have sex with the woman too – but that he was unable to penetrate due to temporary impotence.

        The victim testified that she was being raped, that multiple people were holding her down, that Lloyd did indeed have sex with her and that she did not consent to any of this. Furthermore, she mentioned hearing several of the defendants talking about throwing her off a balcony before the sexual contact began to take place. At least one of the other convicted defendants testified that Lloyd did have sex with the victim.

        Everyone else who assaulted that woman was convicted or took a plea deal (5 people out of the 6 charged or rather the 6 that we can find articles about). Lloyd’s attorney was able to implant a reasonable doubt in the jury that Lloyd didn’t penetrate, despite admitting that he was in the room and wanted to do so.

        Add to that the information about Mark Densberger, the sambo/sombo coach that Lloyd trained under for a few years, being convicted in 2005 of molesting and abusing his adopted children for years in his martial arts studio.

        Add to that the rude, aggressive and dismissive comments TLI affiliates like Marcos Avellan, Paul Proctor and others have directed towards members of Keenan’s family, who have been following this very closely and talking in public about this information. The comments were made on Facebook, in the Underground Forums and on the Sherdog forums and screen captures/quotes have immortalized them.

        What do you think now?

        1. Lex Post author

          Thanks for the extra information. I appreciate that, and clarifies a few things for me. Honestly I never cared about Lloyd Irvin the man. I hope that he stands in the court of public opinion and goes down there if that is the judgement of the people. My main concern is about the good guys on that team like Keenan and JT. There are exceptional human beings. Anyway, thanks, and I hope everyone exercises reason in all of this, and stops it from turning into a witchhunt. Bad guys should pay, but no witches should burn.

          1. madgrappler

            Being associated with LI is bad mojo now. Hopefully and decent human beings on the team have the good sense to cut ties. For their own self-preservation if nothing else. They’ll do great no matter what team they are on. TLI will get replaced by another, better camp that will actually produce black belt world champions and not mid-level competitors like TLI. (with two notable exceptions)

    1. Lex Post author

      Thanks for contributing your carefully reasoned opinion. There is not a connection between Lloyd Irvin, his team, and me at this time.

    1. Lex Post author

      Your website is good, but it feels a little cheap to advertise something like this. Of course, many would argue that he did the same exact thing and thus deserves it done back.

  2. madgrappler


    Evans said the woman ordered everybody out but the first two men, but that the others crowded around the door. Later, after the crowd left, Gatling and Lloyd E. Irvin Jr. went in. Evans said he followed them in, sat at the foot of the bed and listened as the two men had sex with her.
    I was curious,” he explained in a tense exchange with Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Aundria D. Foster.
    Evans said that after Gatling and Irvin left the room, he approached the woman from behind and began massaging her shoulders. But when he tried to get her to lean back for him, she pushed him away and he fell off the bed. He said he immediately left the room.
    Evans told his lawyer that he wanted to have sex with the woman, but only with her consent.”
    On Thursday, the woman presented a much different version of the incident, which lasted into the early morning of Oct. 8.
    She testified that she had already been raped and sodomized, and that some of the men in the apartment were holding her down when Evans approached her and tried to have sex. She said she freed herself just long enough to push him away.

    She said Evans punched her in the mouth, cursed her and stormed off.
    Smith, the physician, testified that the woman had a bruised lower lip when she came to Riverside.

  3. John

    Please get the facts correct BEFORE you post something like this. Lloyd Irvin was in a GANG RAPE. He wanted to have sex with a drunken 17 year old girl. All his buddies went to jail from the rape that happened that night. And by my count, at least 3 different juries said it was RAPE. The ONLY reason Lloyd got off was because he said he couldn’t get an erection.

    You’re a Judo guy. You very well know that Lloyd could NOT pass a background check in Judo to Coach at any event.

    I can only hope that the IBJJF will ban Lloyd for life from coaching.

  4. madgrappler

    Someone anonymous but claiming to be close to Lloyd Irvin on Sherdog says that he will not be addressing the 1989 case, his actions or his inner circles actions after it came to light, or anything else except the current case with the 2 now accused, not now and not ever, and he doesn’t owe anyone any explanations.

    Will that be ok with the BJJ community? I sure hope not.

  5. BISE

    You write very interesting, the topics are great. I like your blog. For how long have you been blogging? How much time do you spend on this? I hope that I can use some of your texts on my blog. Yours, Maria


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