Ryan J. Degan
A professional mixed-martial artist with a fifth-degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu who was living in Danville has been indicted by an Orange County grand jury on a felony assault charge for an unprovoked attack on a five-time jiu-jitsu world champion that resulted in the victim losing teeth, prosecutors announced on Friday.
Ralph Gracie, 39, fled to his birth country of Brazil after a warrant was issued for his arrest, and he has since failed to appear at several scheduled court hearings, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
Gracie, a Danville resident before leaving the United States, owns several Brazilian jiu-jitsu schools in the Bay Area, including one in Dublin called the Ralph Gracie Dublin Jiu-Jitsu Academy.
Prosecutors allege Gracie committed an unprovoked, blindside assault on world champion Flavio Almeida while on the sidelines of the 2018 International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation World Championships in Anaheim on Dec. 15, 2018.
“The Orange County District Attorney’s Office will continue to seek justice for victims regardless of the geographical obstacles in our way,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement Friday announcing the grand jury’s determination.
Authorities allege Gracie elbowed Almeida in the face — an incident that was caught on camera according to TMZ — while Almeida was coaching one of his athletes from the sidelines during the world championships, knocking him unconscious.
According to the Orange County DA, once Almeida was unconscious on the ground, Gracie kicked him in the face at least once, resulting in a concussion and two missing teeth. Prosecutors further allege Gracie was joined in the attack by one of his students, Lincoln Jefferson Pereira.
According to the DA, Pereira also struck Almeida while he was unconscious on the ground, however Pereira pleaded guilty to the reduced misdemeanor charge in July, and was sentenced to 80 days with credit for time served.