A warrant has been issued for the arrest of black belt and gym owner Ralph Gracie stemming from the very public brawl between Gracie and fellow black belt Flavio Almeida of Gracie Barra off the mats at 2018’s IBJJF World No-Gi Championships. The altercation, which was caught on tape, included Ralph Gracie student Lincoln Jeferson Pereira who is named in the Orange County District Attorney’s complaint.
Gracie Barra, which employs Almeida as its North American Executive Director, has confirmed it will pursue additional legal action against Ralph Gracie in civil court in a continued effort to move jiu-jitsu away from its sometimes violent, rivalry-ridden roots.
Jiu-Jitsu Times has obtained a copy of the formal complaint against Gracie and Pereira, which states that the pair are wanted for felony assault with intent to produce great bodily injury. The filing suggests bail be set at $50,000 for each defendant.
Ralph’s legal counsel released a statement in December 2018 asserting that the altercation was “mutual combat” and that “the video does not capture the full spectrum of words and actions leading up to the incident.” Gracie Barra and Almeida refuted those claims and it appears the Orange County District Attorney’s office agrees, stating that Almeida “was not an accomplice during the commission.”
Almeida, who appeared in the video to be sucker punched mid-conversation at the start of the assault, was hospitalized after the attack for head trauma. He later shared this photo of the place his teeth were before the encounter:
Ralph Gracie has already faced repercussions for the incident. In December 2018 IBJJF announced that Gracie and “the alleged perpetrators” had been suspended from competing, coaching, or even attending “any and all IBJJF sanctioned events.” The organization will rule whether the suspension is permanent pending an internal investigation.
From the beginning, Almeida and Gracie Barra have condemned the assault–which was rumored to be part of a turf war between Ralph Gracie’s namesake gym and Gracie Barra in the San Fransisco area– as behavior at odds with the rank of black belt and unwelcome in jiu-jitsu at large.
“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,” Dave Weber, Head of School Development and Support for Gracie Barra, told Jiu-Jitsu Times.
“The Gracie Barra Organization is pleased and grateful to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office for pursuing justice stemming from the assault on Professor Flávio Almeida by Ralph Gracie and Lincoln Ferreira.”
Jiu-Jitsu Times has reached out to Ralph Gracie and his legal counsel for comment, but has not received a response at this time.
The DA’s complete filing against Gracie and Pereira is viewable here: