Last week, Rilion Gracie posted a photo after a training session with Romolo Barros Silva, who was convicted in 2002 of third-degree assault against three separate women in Hawaii and ordered to undergo a psychosexual assessment with a certified sex offender counselor as part of his sentencing.
A few days prior to Gracie’s photo, Pedro Sauer had posted a video that showed Barros training at his camp in Petropolis, Brazil; Sauer had introduced and tagged Barros in the now-deleted video and responded to backlash with two public statements on social media.
When Rilion Gracie had originally uploaded the photo, the Jiu-Jitsu Times reached out to him for comment. Tonight, we received this statement via email:
“This statement is in regards to a picture I posted on Instagram recently…I have been in Brazil since the day after the post with limited access to the internet. I want to start by saying that I was completely unaware of Romolo Barros’s charges and convictions, and had I known about them, he would not have been welcome on my mats. I knew Romolo from training a long time ago in Brazil and we would only see each other occasionally at tournaments and other events over the last 25-30 years. He contacted me to let me know he was in Florida for a day, and he asked if he could train with me. We trained together and I posted a picture on Instagram.
The next day, I started receiving comments calling him names and accusing him of being a sex offender. Since I had no idea of his past, I deleted the comments, believing that they had come from people who just wanted to cause trouble. It was only after I received a telephone call from a trusted friend informing me of what Romolo had been convicted of that I realized that the comments were true and I immediately took the picture down. I do not spend much time on the internet, and I’m constantly traveling to spread the art of Jiu-Jitsu, so this news caught me completely by surprise. I want to make it absolutely clear that I DONT CONDONE HIS ACTIONS. HE DOES NOT TEACH – and never had- AT ANY OF MY SCHOOLS.
I am proud of the honest and law abiding lifestyle that I have lived as an example to my family and to my students. I know that those who know me will recognize the reputation I have spent my entire life building and realize that I will continue to do my best to spread the art of Jiu Jitsu in a safe learning environment.
The Jiu-Jitsu Times will continue to provide updates on this story as they become available.