“[Edmond Tarverdyan’s] testimony at the initial Meeting of Creditors was materially false,” bankruptcy trustee Jason Rund wrote in his June 2017 final report, recently obtained by Bloody Elbow.
The public bankruptcy saga of Ronda Rousey’s oft-maligned trainer began with the surprise fall 2015 discovery of the case by Bloody Elbow’s John Nash.
That the trainer of arguably the world’s most famous, active combat sports athlete would file for bankruptcy was a shocker. That the same trainer would file a petition under penalty of perjury claiming “$0.00” in income with $3,300 in assets and over $700,000 in debt was mind blowing, especially considering the income window included Rousey’s UFC 184 women’s bantamweight title defense against Cat Zingano on Feb. 28, 2015.
In February 2016, Bloody Elbow published the tapes of Tarverdyan’s two 341 hearings in which the trainer goes from testifying under oath in September that he earned “fifty bucks, forty bucks, but I wouldn't call it that much of an income” for personal training and purse shares of “nothing but a few hundred dollars, that's it,” to December testimony earning “in the six-figure mark” from training Ronda Rousey in 2015.
Ownership of the Glendale Fighting Club went from letting a student, Sevak Ohanjanyan, take it over “maybe five, six years ago” in September testimony to acknowledging in December that his wife, Diana Avetisyan, owns the gym because “I was very bad with my finances.”
In his final report, Trustee Rund noted, “[Tarverdyan] is a relatively high profile boxing and mixed martial arts trainer who has worked with fighters such as Ronda Rousey and Travis Brown [sic]. However, [Tarverdyan] testified that he does not own a gym and makes minimal income from training relatively unknown fighters. [Tarverdyan] works out of a gym called the Glendale Fighting Club which [Tarverdyan] testified he sold to one of his students because the business was doing poorly. Notwithstanding [Tarverdyan’s] characterization of his sources of income and business interests, the information he provided is not accurate. The Glendale Fighting Club is operated under the corporate entity GFC Fitness, Inc. and the sole shareholder is [Tarverdyan’s] spouse, Diana Avetisyan. The trustee has further established that [Tarverdyan’s] income he receives as a trainer is transacted thru the corporation.”
Trustee Rund’s final conclusion on the Glendale Fighting Club was that “the current Profit and Loss Statement for the corporation through November 2015 reveals gross income of $657,272 which includes $406,000 from training Rousey… There is no doubt that the success of the gym and corporation is directly related to [Tarverdyan’s] efforts.”
The trustee’s investigation involved the services of an outside lawyer and accountant and took more than a year to eventually reach a $160,000 settlement agreement in early 2017. Along the way, four creditor claims totaling more than $170,000 were disallowed for being beyond the four-year statute of limitations.
At the end of the day, 27% of the settlement money went to pay administrative expenses with the remaining 73% repaying creditors.
The trustee was paid $11,250, his attorney earned $28,783.50, and his accountant took home $2,349. Wells Fargo was repaid $104,603.23 while Discover recovered $12,107.16. All remaining funds covered administrative expenses.
Ironically, Tarverdyan filed for bankruptcy at what seems to be the height of his income-earning potential. His star pupil, Rousey, has shown no indications of returning to the UFC after suffering two lopsided losses in her most recent outings and his next biggest “star,” Travis Browne, has lost four fights in a row (and five of six) and has many wondering how Rousey’s fiancée hasn’t been cut from the UFC.
Tarverdyan must now wait eight years before becoming eligible to file another Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Multiple requests seeking comment on the case and confirmation on whether or not a recommendation to pursue perjury charges was made to the FBI were not returned by Trustee Rund’s office as of this writing.
Paul covers MMA business and analytics for Bloody Elbow. Follow him @MMAanalytics.