Friday, March 01, 2013

Eating crow with Luca Atalla

Edited to add: for perspective, a timeline of events that may help you interpret Ryan and Luca's exchange below.

 January 9th, 2013: Two male TLI competition team members (Nick Schultz and Mateo Maldonado) are arrested and charged with raping a fellow female student on January 1, 2013..

 January 10th: Details of Lloyd Irvin's involvement in a 1989 rape come to light.

 January 18th: Ryan Hall issues an open letter online. It is a call to martial arts practitioners and instructors to strive for integrity above a win-at-all-costs mentality, and also serves as a barely veiled critique of the culture fostered at TLI which he was once a part of.

 January 22: Lloyd Irvin issues an open letter, published on .

The letter addresses the recent rape charges against his two students, and acknowledges his involvement in the 1989 rape case (he received a "not guilty" verdict, but appeared to have played an active role in a gang rape in which several others were convicted). GracieMag includes a footnote to Irvin's letter in which GracieMag C.E.O. Luca Atalla provides a link to his own public statement regarding the recent news, titled "How the Reputation Murder Works." It essentially serves as a defense of Lloyd Irvin and a dismissal of Lloyd Irvin critics. There are contentious exchanges between Atalla and readers in the comment section, including a back and forth between Atalla and Kathleen Callos ( the mother of TLI student/competitor Keenan Cornelius).

 January 24: I respond to Luca:

 circa February 19th (dates vary): A few TLI affiliates announce that they are breaking ties with Lloyd Irvin including BETA Academy.

 February 22-- I post an rebuttal to the rumor that Lloyd Irvin's codefendant in the 1989 gang rape was acquitted:

February 27: News surfaces that several prominent members of TLI are leaving the school, including Cornelius

 March 1: TLI team member Jordan Schultz posts a message on Facebook providing background into why he and several members are leaving the school, which includes an accusation that Lloyd Irvin manipulated the trust of at least one female student in order to coerce sexual favors from her.

 * * * *

 Here is the private exchange between Ryan Hall and Luca Atalla, shared with me by Ryan and published here with his consent:

 * * * *

3:50pm  Ryan Hall

 Hello Luca, How are you? I am wondering if you would be willing to post a letter that I wrote on GracieMag? I have a lot of experience with what has been going on in the BJJ community lately and I hope that my letter can share a viewpoint that most people may not have seen yet. I can send the letter to you for your review today if that's ok.
Thanks and talk to you soon,

 2:17am Ryan Hall 

Luca, Just checking back to make sure my message didn't get lost in your inbox.

 10:11pm Ryan Hall

 Hey Luca, How's things? Think you could post this story to GracieMag? It's fairly credible, I think.
Take care,
 BETA Academy owner explains ending relationship with Lloyd Irvin Following terminating his relationship with Lloyd Irvin, BETA Academy owner Nakapan Phungephorn explains the situation, including claims of shady business tactics and bully behavior. 

1:15am Ryan Hall

 Hey, Luca.
How's things, irmao? Remember that time you were defending Lloyd and yelling about "the reputation murder" or whatever crap you invented to try to obscure what was right in front of you? Yeah...might want to get on damage control, boss. Just a friendly heads up.

 1:39am Luca Atalla

 I stick with my words. I'm not here nor my vehicle to attack others.
Good luck.

 1:54am Ryan Hall
 A bold position given recent events. Kudos for your bravery, sir.
Scroll down to the end for a heaping serving of crow.
Keenan leaves TLI - Page 39 - Sherdog Mixed Martial Arts Forums Page 39- Keenan leaves TLI Grappling Technique

 10:06am Luca Atalla

 If it's true (which sincerely appears), the police will seize this case, and it's going to be very soon. I had no way to know it, and I wrote based in the information I had at the moment I wrote. Ryan, I don't really feel like I need to do damage control. I would defend anyone if I thought people were attacking him without proofs, or for other reasons. I would do for you, or for anyone else. That said, my belief is still the same. This thing if proven will take Jiu-Jitsu sadly down. And Jiu-Jitsu doesn't have anything with people's behavior. Again, I am writing here but I'm not sure it's all true, and I will wait to things wrap-up. I'm not a legal specialist but it seems pretty clear that if the guy is guilt, the legal system will act very fast and the good will prevail. Thanks for advising me.

 10:12am Luca Atalla

 for other reasons = for different reasons than the facts that happened. Bottom line, based in the information I knew, there was not a rapist culture in his environment. Things change, but I don't have a crystal ball. It's my posture. I can't open a powerful media channel for attacks based in conjectures. The difference of GracieMag attacking people and you or other guys attacking people is big, and you have powerful social tools to do it nowadays, as it's proven. Sincerely, I expect the evil to lose, even if it is naive. And, in the end of the day, it seems that that's what is going to happen. Good luck!

 2:24pm Ryan Hall


GracieMag is a "powerful media channel"? Ha. You are a for profit faux-journal that pushes the interests of its members and ignores anything and anyone that does not parrot your party line. There's nothing legitimate about your media. Please continue to tell yourself whatever you need to in order to sleep at night. I find it amusing/appalling that you can't even back off your nonsense or stop patting yourself on the back for the ten seconds it would take to apologize to the people you've deeply wronged with your support of possibly the worst person that the martial arts has seen in the past decade.

You should be ashamed of yourself. It's funny that you mention a lack of information being the source of your error. I can't help but notice that there was a pretty impressive lack of information supporting Lloyd Irvin, yet you (the same guy who was speaking at his event) felt comfortable attacking the people who stood up for what is right and even went as far as to suggest that their motives were some sort of vendetta. You wrote based on your own self-interest because you are a coward and an opportunist.

 Finally, your asinine suggestion that you don't want this to reflect negatively on Jiu-Jitsu is also pathetic and an obvious red herring. Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art and martial arts are composed of people. People are what was at risk, what was being abused here, you moron. In closing, it isn't "what it is," as you suggest in your weak, spineless Facebook wall post. It's what Lloyd and people like you have made it. You are right about one thing, though: this is sad. I hope that you will actually reflect on this situation and come out of the whole thing with a little more respect for others. I'll consider letting you off the hook when you make a public apology.

PS One more for the road:
 My Experience W Lloyd as Mastermind Member - Mixed Martial Arts Forum

 2:46pm Luca Atalla 

Ryan, look, you can think whatever you want about myself or GracieMag. I train Jiu-Jitsu before you probably were born, you don't arrive here YESTERDAY to tell me what to do.

If my not be a powerful media channel for you but you're a ZERO for me, as an athlete, as person, and even as a blackbelt. 

I never trained under Lloyd (LIKE YOU), and even Lloyd wasn't even thinking on train Jiu-Jitsu when I started GracieMag back in 1994. I stick with my points. I am not interested in your personal agenda or personal vendetta.

 2:46pm Luca Atalla

 If my = GracieMag might.

 3:10pm Luca Atalla

 The summary is, you don't recognize GracieMag, for you I'm coward and opportunist and a moron. And from my side I don't know you, don't recognize you, don't know your agenda. Why bother to chat here? Keep your work and I will keep mine.

 3:26pm Ryan Hall


Does this mean we're not friends? If I thought you weren't my friend, I don't think I could bear it...
 At least we'll see each other in Vegas?
RE: Your Personal Invitation To My “Players ONLY Party” With The ONE unhinged genius normally holed up in his compound who you can’t afford to miss…

 3:32pm Luca Atalla

 Yes, I'll see you there.

 3:32pm Ryan Hall



GiReviews Brendan said...

Damn you Ryan Hall for simultaneously being incredibly well spoken, hilarious, and RIGHT.

Ihearthalfguard said...

Ryan you a fucking boss.... always have been, always will be.

Intoxicus said...

"And Jiu-Jitsu doesn't have anything with people's behavior"
Whoa what?!
I don't really know much about Luca or anything but I would say that Jiu-Jitsu has a lot to do with people's behavior and that behvior as Lloyd Irvin's(sans rape accusations/involvements) should be shunned, outed, and discouraged.
Outside of the rapes drama it's clear what kind of person LLoyd Irvin his and how deeply his behavior should be is contrary to what Jiu-Jitsu is all about.

Anonymous said...

"Let not anyone pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part, and forms no opinion. Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends than that good men should look on and do nothing." John Stuart Mill

Justin Garcia said...

“Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.” ~Paulo Freire

Anonymous said...

Luca Atalla is with Gracie Barra. This is a known fact. One of the worrying things here is that he also does a lot of the marketing for Gracie Barra, attends there seminars. He even talk's at there seminars about values and ethics. I dont need to go on and on but he has put himself in a very bad situation. He is also ruining whatever reputation Gracie Mag had and also tarnishing the reputation of the largest BJJ club in the world with his contiuned denial to admit what everyone else now knows. Please do everyone a favour Luca, say your sorry. Say you made a mistake. Everyone is wrong at somepoint in there lifes. Your ruining an awful lot of good work done by other people by dragging Gracie Barra into this.

Anonymous said...

My favorite part is Ryan Hall's Doc Holliday quote!


Anonymous said...

Ryan has been murdering Lloyd recently and that's great. However, I can't help but wonder why he is speaking so ferociously now. Why wait until now? I wonder, Did Mr. Hall witness anything or know of possible situations that should gave been mentioned before now? If his diatribes are delayed/deferred then I can't get behind his moral high grounding. If Ryan was truly unaware of these improprieties until recently than I think he is doing the right thing.

In summation, If he knew or even strongly felt that these things were occurring and waited this long...well..then he has no right to trumpet his disdain. But I like to believe that isn't the case...

Unknown said...

I'm glad Ryan's speaking now. In response to Anon in the quote above, I had the same question, but ultimately, I understand that people grow and to speak out takes courage.

I'm not going to fault Ryan for lacking the courage to take a stand in the past. Rather, I will applaud him for taking a stand now. The time is right. He is well known enough to have influence and credibility.

Anonymous said...

I think that if those words had been exchanged in person there would or SHOULD be a fist fight.

Georgette said...

nope, because this is what grownups do- they use their *words.*

Anonymous said...

It only gets worse for Luca Atalla. The latest Bloody Elbow article is horrific. Although this sounds like an old article on Keenan and JT's departure it's actually the "official" release of Jordon Schultz's public statement, plus the results of BE's interviews with ex team members:

So ... why didn't we hear about this before? Why was Ryan Hall silent when he left a couple of years ago and why was he round-about when he gave a public statement recently?

This statement from the reporter/editor of the Bloody Elbow piece (made in the comments to the article linked above) says it all: "I can tell you that people are terrified of him."

Seen in this simple light - the willingness of LI to "go Scientology" on people who speak up by spreading a wave of hate against "defectors", then investigating them, internet "assassins" to drop dirt in anonymous forums, law suits or threats of lawsuits - all types of vile intimidations (see what they tried to do to Keenan's dad to shut him up, see Nakapan's report that LI brought a gun to their meeting - is it any wonder there was silence until the rape in December and the revelation of LI's own 1989 rape trial? Until the house of cards began to topple?

In this light Ryan Hall has been very brave to speak out publicly. Until Jordon issued his statement, no one else did. And in forums, LI apparently seeded them with moderators who deleted LI "dirt".

Meanwhile Luca Atalla - who was a guest at LI "marketing meetings" - did he pick up the phone to talk to Hall on or off the record? To others? Was he informed, did he try to become informed, when he wrote his "reputation murderer" editorial? I suspect not.

Once no one attends Master Mind Seminars, once LI's attack money dries up (the IRS has tax liens on his house) ... then we will hear all the truth. Until then it is going to leak out in dribs and drabs. That's how it works in our system (modern life in America). Things aren't neatly wrapped up with a ribbon.

I sincerely hope victims - who many not even recognize they have been victimized yet - will talk to the Prince George investigators, just to find out if what happened was right or wrong. It's not being a traitor. It's standing up for yourself. It's about re-setting internal self-esteem. Jiu jitsu is about life, not about heaps of negativity and fear.

phil m said...

Thank you,Ryan for marking Atalla's defense of l.i;as a pathetic attempt to influence readers and mock justice.