Have you ever stumbled upon a fraud? Someone that talks a big game about something that they are currently doing or have done? Chances are you have met someone like that and sadly in the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu community those type of people exists as well. And the crazy thing is some of them is still claiming to be someone that they are not. Two of the most famous people to do so are Rafiel Torre and Jay Queiroz.
In the 1990s right after the rise of UFC, Mixed Martial Arts was still considered to be a dangerous sport in America (Still is anyway). With that stigma, the UFC has a lot of trouble in creating and managing fights because most TV networks and especially the government are not yet sold with the idea of MMA. This nudge MMA back in the “not legal” route of underground fighting and most of the fighters at the time decided to leave the sport. In those dark days the only way you can enjoy and watch MMA was through the internet, if you are of similar age to me then you know internet is a luxury back then.
It was in those dark ages that Rafiel Torre made a name of himself in the online MMA community by bragging about his undefeated fighting record of 14-0. He famously told everyone that one of those fights are in an underground pit fighting match. As many fraudulent often do, he does not have any proof about all his fighting experience but alas many people believe the story. This is the reason why we don’t find many fake martial artists today because we can search for their claims easily on the internet.
To give you a more detailed explanation about just how dark the early 20s was for the MMA community. To this day there are still UFC fights from that period that we can’t see on UFC Fight Pass. Coming from a company that is all about fighting it is really strange to found out that there are still some matches that are digitally missing. The particular situation only helped Rafiel’s persona and no one called him out (yet).
Becoming a Star
After he had attention from the online MMA community, he started making up stories about his background. He was claiming to be an ex-Navy Seal and that he trained BJJ from a young age by his Brazilian father
Because no one has called him out, Rafiel made up other “staggering” stories that made him looked cooler. Things such as claiming to be a former Navy Seal and learning BJJ from a Brazilian parent. By this time Rafiel has garnered a social media following and became a popular sensation in the martial arts world. Because of that, he was invited to participate in a grappling match hosted by the Abu Dhabi Combat Club or more famously known as ADCC. Just like every fraud, he was exposed right away and submitted by Beau Hershberger in under a minute. Strangely enough he still maintained his popularity even with the loss
End of The Line
In 2001 he has his last MMA match against a former student by the name of Ioka Tianuu. Supposedly there are some dramas involved and to diffuse the situation both of them decided to settle the score by fighting each other. The event was happening on the now-defunct King of The Cage promotion. Surprisingly Rafiel wins via kneebar. I guess every dog has its day and Rafiel do have some martial arts skills?
Turns out Rafiel was paying Ioka to threw the fight. This was the nail in the coffin for Rafiel because afterward each of his lies is debunked and people are starting to figure out that Rafiel is a fraud. All his stories about being a Navy Seal with a Brazilian Lineage was a lie because turns out his real name is Ralph Bartel. Not long after, Rafiel disappeared and was never heard from again
This was begging of the end for Torre, his credibility went down because it was obvious that he paid his opponent to dive. After this fight, the truth came out and people figured out that his 14-0 score, Navy Seal and Brazilian background was a lie. His name wasn’t even Rafiel Torre, it was Ralph Bartel. Shortly after, he disappeared from the martial arts scene.
Prison Charge for Murder
After meeting a woman named Angelina Richards, Rafiel and his new lover decided to murder her girlfriend’s husband by the name of Bryan Richards so they can get insurance money. Not surprisingly Rafiel first tried to pay someone to do it and that someone is Gerald Strebendt, an ex-marine, and former UFC fighter, but Gerald refused to do it. Afterward, Rafiel did it himself and choked Bryan until he is dead. Disgustingly Rafiel then asked Strebendt to help him provide an alibi to which Strebendt refused again.
Rafiel was found guilty by the judges but he claims to act in self-defense after accusing Bryan Richards of threatening Rafiel and Angeline using a handgun. After the judges bring in Strebendt for a testimony, Rafiel was sentenced to life in prison.
If you’d like to see a video form of someone calling out fake martial artist, check out this JRE episode
Back in 2015, a man named Jay Queiroz of Team Jay Queiroz Martial Arts in Marlboro, NY was claiming to be an “IBJJF recognized Blackbelt” under the world-famous GF TEAM. He was exposed by Mike Palladino and his students. Jay Queiroz was a line cook at a strip club and out of the blue he told the strip club owner that he is a BJJ black belt and because of that he wants to switch security. He even awarded the club owner his purple belt after 3 weeks of training. Even BJ Penn is not that fast lol. Anyway Jay never got to bask in his fame because he was shut down by Mike Palladino a day after opening his gym. Here is a video of the outing:
Who Wins The Title?
If you’re asking me then Rafiel Torre should win the title of fakest martial artist of all time because at least he was able to enjoy his fame however short it was. Jay was just a literal one night stand with no real fighting experience. But in my opinion both do not deserve to be mentioned ever again because they are not what martial arts are all about. In fact they represent the exact opposite. Thank god for the internet