Joe McCaffery had bad experiences at other BJJ academies and therefore started his own school.
In and of itself, there’s nothing controversial about that. Instructors break away from their academies and start their own schools all of the time.
But what he did there broke the combat sports internet.
While at his school, Joe McCaffery made the controversial decision to promote himself from purple belt to brown belt.
In the video, McCaffery explains why he decided to self-promote, something which is typically (and strongly) frowned upon at martial arts schools:
The Brazilian priesthood is dead no more will another man be allowed to determine my rank in life or in jiu jitsu. All of the psychopathic hierarchies need to be destroyed. And it’s not Brazilian and it’s not Gracie it’s just jiujitsu. It belongs to all of the people of the world. We don’t hang pictures of idols on the walls at One World jiu jitsu. We develop the self not our wallets. That is what a true martial artist does.
Joe, however, received both his blue and purple belts the traditional way, by being promoted by his instructor. Here is a picture of him being promoted to purple belt at Gracie Barra: