Lloyd Irvin associate Marcos Avellan sues multiple parties for 'defamation' involving MMA Millionaires

Photo: Brad Shorr via Wikimedia Commons

Marcos Avellan, the man who runs the Platinum Level of Lloyd Irvin's MMA Millionaires program, has filed a lawsuit against Justin Garcia, Nakapan Phungephorn, Brandon Nunley and their businesses, claiming that they defamed him as well as the MMA Millionaires.

Lloyd Irvin and his business ventures such as his "MMA Millionaires" program have repeatedly come under fire over the past few months. The controversy came into the open when two Irvin students were charged in the rape of a third female student on New Year's Eve. It was a charge that led to a slew of ugly revelations and accusations about Irvin, his past and his business practices.

Bloody Elbow has acquired documents that show that Marcos Avellan, a close associate and fierce defender of Irvin, has filed suit against a number of parties for defamation, conspiracy to defame, tortious interference with business relationships and conspiracy to tortiously interfere with business relationships. The paperwork was stamped by the deputy clerk on June 3.

Named in the suit are Justin Garcia, Nakapan Phungephorn, Brandon Nunley, Jungle Gym Martial Arts, LLC and BETA Martial Arts Academy. Garcia owns Jungle Gym while Phungephorn owns BETA. Nunley is a former MMA Millionaires client who posts on the MixedMartialArts.com forums as "Fuzzy Badfeet." Nunley was extremely vocal on the forums over the past several months about his alleged bad experiences with the program.

The documents give some background on Avellan's relationship to Irvin and the entire situation:

MMA [Consulting Services, LTD] is a mixed martial arts consulting business owned by Avellan which assists the owners of martial arts academies in marketing and developing their businesses. As part of its business, MMA produces and sells a series of training DVDs directed at owners of mixed martial arts schools about how to grow their businesses and increase profits. MMA's primary source of revenue comes from the sale of these DVDs, which it markets over the internet and through a mixed martial arts organization called MMA Millionaires.

MMA Millionaires organizes seminars directed at owners of mixed martial arts schools about how to grow their business and increase profits. The group is owned and operated by Lloyd Irvin, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blackbelt and competitor who has trained and taught a number of prominent mixed martial arts fighters.

In addition to operating MMA Millionaires, Irvin also owns and operates two related businesses -- a martial arts school called Lloyd Irvin Martial Arts School, and an organization called The Mastermind Group, which provides business coaching and training to owners of mixed martial arts schools.

The Mastermind Group consists of three levels - the entry, or Platinum Level, Platinum Plus, and Titanium.

The documents also go on to say that "on or about August 19, 2012, Avellan's MMA consulting group (MMA) entered into an oral agreement with The Mastermind Group ["The Mastermind Agreement"]. Pursuant to the terms of the Mastermind Agreement, MMA was responsible for running the platinum level of the Mastermind Group in exchange for 50 percent of the revenues generated from platinum level members." And that Garcia, Phungephorn and Nunley "were also aware that MMA had taken charge of the platinum coaching calls prior to the time the incidents giving rise to this action arose, and knew or should have known that MMA had a financial interest in the Mastermind Group."

Explained in the actions are claims that Nunley didn't receive the DVD's that he purchased at a MMA Millionaires event:

Shortly after returning home to Wisconsin, Nunley phones MMA Millionaires to complain that the DVDs had not been timely delivered. Nunley also e-mailed Avellan to also complain that the DVDs had not been delivered. Irvin's assistant explained to Nunley that the DVDs were on order and would be arriving shortly. In addition, as a courtesy, Avellan offered to try and get Irvin to waive several months of Nunley's membership to The Mastermind Group and to pay for Nunley and is staff to travel to Miami for their scheduled sales training. In addition, Avellan offered a free private consultation with him courtesy of MMA Millionaires. Nunley accepted this offer without complaint.

The language above doesn't clarify whether or not Irvin agreed to the request to waive several months of Nunley's membership costs. I was unable to get confirmation as of the time of this writing.

After the charges against the two Irvin students, and the bringing to light of the 1989 gang rape case involving Irvin, the documents state that Nunley attempted to "extort" money out of Avellan, stating "Specifically, on or about March 2, 2013, Nunley sent Avellan an e-mail threatening to defame him, MMA, and The Mastermind Group on numerous mixed martial arts websites unless Avellan paid him $15,000.00."

As explained to Bloody Elbow by a third party familiar with the situation, Nunley's request for $15,000 was a refund for the investment he had made into the MMA Millionaires program. The documents state that "When Avellan refused to give in to Nunley's demands, Nunley set out with the assistance of Phungenphorn and Garcia on a systematic campaign to destroy the professional reputations of MMA, FFA, and The Mastermind Group by posting and/or causing to be posted false and defamatory statements about them on the internet."

The documents then go on for several pages quoting portions of Nunley's posts on MixedMartialArts.com, details such as:

On or about March 1, 2013, Nunley posted the following defamatory statement on mixedmartialarts.com under the screen name "Fuzzy Badfeet": "[a]nyway, marcos convinces me that all will be well. I never actually got the DVDS by the way. It didnt [sic] matter though becasue what I didnt [sic] know was that all of the sets are exactly the same. Exatly [sic] the same .... [t]hey are being marketed as groundbreaking new info. They arent. [sic] All of the sales disks are the same."

Twenty-seven such statements from the forums are listed. From such simple statements (presented as written) as "I want my f-ing friends to get their money back that these creeps stole knowing that these guys' businesses could crumble," to "[a]ll three of these people say they have known marcos for years and all have offered this info on their own. . . . Basically they say that Marcos is a racist. They say that he always says, though often behind closed doors that he 'doesn't like niggers' ' dont waste time with niggers cus they never have money etc' , but he calls lloyd his master?"

In addition, the documents cover statements on the forum where Nunley suggested that people book appointments with Freestyle Fighting Academy (FFA) and no-show to be a time sink for the business as well as stating that Nunley cost the business money by suggesting people stop paying for their memberships with the program.

Phungephorn is then named (often with his name misspelled), with the documents singling out a post on Bloody Elbow where he detailed his reasons for terminating his association with Lloyd Irvin as well as another segment that says "in a telephone conversation with a member of the martial arts community, Phungenphorn accused MMA Millionaires and The Mastermind Group of being corrupt, dishonest, and a scam." While Garcia is also accused of defamatory statements, including a charge that Garcia sent the following to another member of The Mastermind Group:

I would never tell you what to do, but as a friend, the decision I've made is to not do any business with anyone still connected with Lloyd. The growing list of evidence has already far exceeded what was necessary for some of his closest guys to leave. Those still hooked are running a very real risk of being publicly connected with Lloyd's "cult."

Is the only thing that's preventing you from publicly separating yourself from someone who's being publicly outed for everything from being a cult leader to a rapist?

There's got to be a difference between "all" the facts and "enough" facts, no? At what point does your radar go off that you shouldn't be doing business with this guy?

The actual claims portion of the documents state "As a direct and proximate result of the publication of the aforementioned defamatory statements, Avellan has suffered, and will continue to suffer damages in excess of $15,000, including reputational damage, loss of good will, credibility within his personal and professional communities, loss of enjoyment of life, severe emotional distress, pain and suffering, embarrassment, humiliation, and physical distress."

Claims are not only filed on behalf of Avellan, but there are also several filed on behalf of Freestyle Fighting Academy and MMA Consulting Services while requesting a trial by jury.

Bloody Elbow did reach out to Avellan to allow him the chance to comment on the story but he has not responded as of press time.

Where the trial could be interesting is in the discovery process as the defendants can -- and likely will -- look to go through MMA Millionaire related bank records, DVD info, correspondence...etc. It is also interesting that Lloyd is not personally involved with the suit.

Bloody Elbow will continue to follow this developing story.

Note: All quotes were presented as written in the documents, including typos, misspellings...etc.

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