Lloyd Irvin Reflects on the 2012 No Gi World Championship

Lloyd Irvin wins a medal at the 2012 No Gi World Championships
Lloyd Irvin wins at the IBJJF 2012 No Gi World Championships.

Maryland-based Team Lloyd Irvin came in second place at the 2012 IBJJF No Gi World Championship, a strong outcome by any measure. The team’s founder Lloyd Irvin Junior was able to take a few moments from his very busy schedule to answer some questions we had about his team’s performance at the event.

The FightWorks Podcast: Your team has successful jiu-jitsu athletes across belts and genders. Talk about some of your standouts this time around.

Lloyd Irvin Jr.: It’s hard to go into standouts because overall everyone did well. We had lots of gold medals, lots of medals. There’s no one person who stood out. If you forced me, I’d say DJ because he became our first Black Belt no gi world champion.

The FightWorks Podcast: After a long time away from competition, you also stepped on the mats and won your weight division, black belt I senior heavy. What was that like?

Lloyd Irvin Jr.: It was great! I did it more so as a way to motivate the team. We had a lot of high energy and expectations going into no gi worlds and I thought throwing my hat in there and telling the guys I’m going to battle with them, getting back in shape, training to compete all that would be a great motivation and it was. It felt great!

The FightWorks Podcast: There was some controversy around the outcome of the black belt lightweight finals match between Team Lloyd Irvin competitor JT Torres and Augusto “Tanquinho” Mendes (Soul Fighters International). JT was winning by a narrow margin until the closing moments of the match, when Tanquinho was awarded an advantage that gave him the victory. The evening of the finals, you wrote on your twitter account @lloydirvin, “What happened to JT in the finals is a disgrace! It’s deeper than anyone knows”. What did you mean?

Lloyd Irvin Jr.: I meant that some people think that this is a game, that this is all fun and game but this stuff affects people lives. People dedicate their lives to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and you have a situation where people are blatantly cheating. This is way bigger than just the JT match. There’s a serious problem going on and it’s affecting peoples lives.

The FightWorks Podcast: At the conclusion of that match between JT and Tanquinho it looked as if you might have been angry with JT. Were the comments you were making then directed at him or at the referees?

Lloyd Irvin Jr.: I have no idea how anyone would think anything was directed at JT. It was clearly directed at the refs and the people in the stands that were cheering after that travesty. Tanquinho pulled with no grips, JT backed up because there was no grips, the ref gave JT a negative point with no warning, which totally changed the landscape of the match. I mean there are several times during the match where Tanquinho doesn’t engage and runs away during the take down battles and he was not penalized or even given a warning. As soon as JT was given the penalty I knew what they were doing. If you watch the video I tell JT “you know what’s up, you know what they’re doing!” In pro sports it’s called point shaving, and it’s a crime.

Tanquinho is declared the winner against JT Torres
A controversial outcome: Tanquinho defeats JT Torres at the 2012 No Gi Jiu-Jitsu World Championships.

The FightWorks Podcast: All said and done, how do you feel about the outcome of the event as you look at your team’s work?

Lloyd Irvin Jr.: I’m happy with my team’s performance. There are a few people who I expected to medal and did not, but we’ll fix those errors going into the next competition.

The FightWorks Podcast: Which Team Lloyd Irvin athletes might we see competing on December 8th for a shot at $5,000 in the first-ever IBJJF Pro League event? It looks like JT Torres will have a bid, but will others be competing earlier that day at the Long Beach Fall Open in hopes of earning a spot to compete later that evening?

Lloyd Irvin Jr.: DJ Jackson is the only one competing on December 8.

Related: Lightweight Champion “Tanquinho” Mendes on the 2012 IBJJF No Gi World Championship

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