Article by SifuJason. Edited by Chuck Hardin and Samuel Browning.
- 1 Summary
- 2 Initial Investigation
- 3 Investigation Part 2: Death of MMACTC
- 4 Investigation Part 3: 14 Years of BJJ
- 5 Throwdown Evalution
- 6 Conclusions
The Mixed Martial Arts Cross Training Center (MMACTC), located in Raleigh, North Carolina, was investigated after it was brought to the attention of Bullshido. This school was owned by Rick Harper and managed/taught by Jason Brinn.
Brinn made the following dubious claims:
- He claimed that he had 14 years of BJJ experience without receiving any rank.
- He claimed that he had studied under Carlos Machado, FMA expert Bill McGrath, Joe Lewis, and many other prominent masters.
- He claimed that Rob and Guy Pendergrass could vouch for his past BJJ training with Carlos Lemos, as could Billy Dowey and Jason Culbreth of Crossfit.
- He claimed that several companies sponsored his school, including TapouT, Affliction, Everlast, Fairtex, No Fear, and several other high-profile companies, many of which were direct competitors to one another.
- His school website claimed to be better than other local MMA schools, citing MMACTC's diversity of styles and experience and comparing it invidiously to a BJJ-only school.
Bullshido members investigated these claims and found them to be questionable. At least in part due to the investigation, MMACTC closed down in March of 2009. The investigation culminated in Mr. Brinn removing his BJJ claims from his martial arts biography, and with him attending a Throwdown in June of 2009 where his grappling was assessed (albeit while he was injured).
Bullshido Learns Of MMACTC
Bullshido member Southpaw brought Mixed Martial Arts Cross Training Center (MMACTC) to Bullshido's attention in December of 2008:
There is a new "MMA" school that is getting ready to open not far from me that seems a little strange and has raised some questions due to some of the claims of the instructor. Additionally, after reviewing the website, it appears that this is an MMA gym that is started and run by people who apparently have never fought in an mma competition (or any competition for that matter…as far as I could find).
Here is the site: http://www.mmactc.com/index.htm
A few things that seemed weird to me:
- They claim to teach at least a dozen different martial arts, but only have 2 instructors.
- The head instructor claims many black belts, but never mentions who awarded them..
- They teach a "street mma" class.
- They teach a "cage fighting class"…that meets 3 times a week for 1 hour. That's 3 hours a week to train for cagefighting.
- They have a "sport mma" class.
- They have a "bjj/akido fighting" class.
Anyway…it all just seems strange. Does anyone have any experience w/ this guy?
He claimed direct training from Carlos Machado, among others:
Bullshido users further observed that the MMACTC facilities were well-appointed, although lacking in mat space and with a setup suggestive more of cardio workout classes than of serious striking training.
Enter Jason Brinn
Jason Brinn himself made an appearance in the thread:
My name is Jason Brinn and I teach the MMA classes at MMACTC. I really appreciate all of the interest and healthy concern over our new school and my credentials. I will try to answer all of your questions and respond as best as I can to the comments. If I miss anything or if at anytime anyone has more comments/question/concerns please feel free to stop by the school to talk with me in person. …
I do not and nor will I ever represent myself as a "Brazilian Jiu Jitsu" blackbelt. …
What about my BJJ experience? YES, I have in fact trained with every person and in every system that I say that I have. …
My first notable direct instructor was Carlos Machado. He was in Dallas and I lived in NC so it is not too hard to figure out that I trained via seminars…
As for competitions, don't waste your time on google cause you won't find any. I have been in some random (lame) competitions throught my years but nothing worth talking about and surely not listed or reported anywhere. The short fact is that I personally don't value competitions that highly. I feel, for me, they are more about ego then anything else and promote bad habits. I do in fact and will continue to take students that want to go to competitions to compete. …
All of what is listed on the MMACTC website is true…
I can assure that we are not doing Tae Bo MMA down at MMACTC. …
Brinn specifically asserted that his claim of 14 years of training in BJJ was legitimate, though his account of his training suggests that it was intermittent, inconsistent, and not mainly in BJJ schools.
Issues With The MMACTC Website
Two Bullshido users took issue with some other statements on MMACTC's website.
On your website seem to talk down about other local MMA schools and specifically mention a Gracie JJ school where the instructors 'only know bjj but nothing else' (paraphrased). There is only 1 Gracie JJ school in the area, and the two instructors are Royce Black Belts (there are less than a couple dozen in the country). It also just so happens that the instructors are also very experienced MMA fighters and teachers,and just generally bad asses when it comes to fighting (for full disclosure they are my instructors). …
I think that they could take the types of comments you make on your website fairly personally…so you might do yourself a favor by toning down the marketing a notch … .
Bullshido user Wolf questioned the list of sponsors on the MMACTC website:
On your site you have listed as sponsors: tapout, affliction, cage fighter, contract killer, combat sports intl. eternal unlimited, everlast, fairtex, hayabusa, hitman, hostilty, jesus didn't tap, no fear, punishment, round 5, shock doctor, sinister, skin, sprawl, stagr, throwdown, venum, and warrior international. I was wondering how you managed to get all these companies to sponsor you. The weird thing I see is that many of these companies are direct competitors (i.e. TapOut, Sprawl and Warrior) and they generally only give true sponsorships on an exclusive basis. How did you manage to get them ALL to sponsor your gym?
Brinn responded that he had not written the website. He later claimed that Rick Harper, the owner of the school, had written the site and also had sole control over the its content. Brinn claimed in the latter post that he asked Harper to change the "Sponsors" heading to read "Advertisers", but this was still unsatisfactory for Wolf, who pointed out that the real advertiser was MMAWarehouse, not the specific companies listed.
Brinn did not back down on his claims of BJJ experience. In fact, despite his disavowals of the website, he mentioned that the instructor biography on the site was copied and pasted from one he himself had provided. On December 19, 2008, Wolf put out a call for Bullies to perform a physical investigation of Mr. Brinn's skills. Brinn agreed to this procedure.
On the same day, Brinn announced that the claims on the MMACTC website had been toned down significantly. Bullshido member chingythingy noted the next day that Rick Harper had put up a specific page on the MMACTC website addressing Crossfit/Team ROC and apologized for their marketing. Harper also called out Southpaw for an inflammatory email he sent Mr. Harper, and claimed that he had contacted the FBI regarding Bullshido.net and Southpaw. Finally, Mr. Harper apologized for his rash initial reaction to the investigation and to Southpaw, and thanked the website for its comments and feedback.
However, Brinn's disclaimer of responsibility for the site's content was inconsistent with his initial statement: "All of what is listed on the MMACTC website is true". Later, Brinn stated: "Since the website wording was so confusing for people we completely changed it".
In Jason Brinn's first post on the site, he claimed that Rob and Guy Pendergrass , Billy Dowey, and Jason Culbreth of Crossfit could vouch for his training with Carlos Lemos, a BJJ instructor who formerly taught in Garner, N.C. Bullshido member Weaver asked Dowey and Culbreth about Brinn directly and they did not remember him. Member kenpostudent later contacted the Pendergrass brothers, who recalled Brinn but would not vouch for his skills and did not think he had extensive training or experience in BJJ.
Immediately after the MMACTC's advertising had been toned down, Brinn let it be known that he was affiliated with several famous UFC fighters, including Chuck Liddell and Jos Koschek, whom he hoped would visit the MMACTC as early as January of 2009.
The Investigation Goes On Hiatus
At this point, the discussion went in circles for many posts, focusing on the status of the current investigation and whether any further investigation was warranted. The most heavily disputed points were whether Brinn had an over-inflated resume, amd why he wouldn't train to participate in an MMA fight given that he claimed to train people for such competitions. The thread died off with no resolution to any of these issues until it was resurrected by Brinn.
Investigation Part 2: Death of MMACTC
On March 2, 2009, Mr. Brinn posted on the thread:
It has been a while and I wanted to update here as to what has been going on with us;
1. NEW website (which I, Jason Brinn, am now running)!
2. We had a professional MMA fighter spend a few days training and sparring with the TEAM. His name is Ken Stone - a super COOL guy (http://www.mixedmartialarts.com/mma….50587314B150B0) THANKS KEN we all had a great time!
3. We have had MANY visitors with a lot of varied backgrounds visit and train as well.
4. We are soon to have 2 fighters ready for action (we are shooting for the end of April)
5. I have personally spoke with "SifuJason" from this thread and invited him and his students to come out anytime and to train and spar with our guys. (I think he is working on a schedule to do this, at least I hope he is as he seemed very cool and I think we would all get a long great after we get to know each other.
Other than that we are just training as hard as we can each and every day and I am SO proud of our guys as i KNOW they have learned a tremendous amount in ONLY 3 months!
Thanks to everyone on this forum who had some good advice, honest questions and good intentions.
Note that this is the same domain name as MMACTC had before.
Bullshido user SifuJason had in fact spoken with Mr. Brinn about having a local meet-up at his facility. The goal was to give the students of both schools a chance to spar with each other and have a change of scenery. However, on March 20th, 2009, Southpaw noticed that MMACTC's website announced that the school had closed down. Rick Harper, who wrote the announcement, said that the closing was in part due to the Bullshido investigation, and claimed Mr. Brinn to be a fraud. Harper's announcement remains up at this writing. Discussion on Bullshido then focused on what caused the school to close, but no clear answer emerged.
One thing was clear at this point, however: Rick Harper was never out of control of the site, since he was able to post the announcement. It seems probable that the website was always a collaborative effort between Brinn and Harper.
With the school's closure, SifuJason made an offer to roll with Mr. Brinn and write an evaluation up on Bullshido, if Brinn were interested. Wolf then offered to coordinate an evaluation. SifuJason was asked to assess Mr. Brinn's stand-up and wrestling/judo, and Southpaw was asked to assess Brinn's BJJ, at SifuJason's school on Saturday March 28, 2009. However, on March 24, Mr. Brinn decided not to follow through, claiming that he would no longer participate on Bullshido forums. Bullshido staff member Gezere offered to evaluate Mr. Brinn on March 26, and Brinn reappeared in an apparent attempt to arrange this with Gezere, but due to schedule conflicts this never took place.
The thread then died for a couple of months.
Investigation Part 3: 14 Years of BJJ
On May 16, 2009, Mr. Brinn posted to the thread again:
After a good break from all the MMACTC "mess" I am here to announce that the group for the most is now re-grouped under a new name and the RIGHT management!
To put it short - no more Rick Harper. He did have a good idea though about me forming under my own name, etc… so thanks Rick!
For anyone interested in training we will be training as follows;
2 nights Raleigh (Tuesdays & Thursdays)
3 nights in Mebane (Mon, Wed, Fri & *Sats too) BJJ ONLY
*various other "training events" throughout the week
The BJJ will be taught by a 4th Degree BJJ BB and will cost $80/month.
Right now all other training is FREE, we will only charge when the group causes expenses. We are not doing this for commercial reasons. Thanks to some of the students recent sport BJJ WINS we are positive our training method is SPOT ON so we are now going to prove the same thing in the MMA ring as was planned before!
More info and to get signed up to train with us Register for FREE at our site and you will be emailed;
[LINK REMOVED BY ADMIN]
This gave rise to several skeptical reactions, including suspicion that the training location was being kept secret. The discussion began to focus on Brinn's continued claim of 14 years of experience in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which he continued to claim for several more posts. Under repeated questioning, he began to back away from this claim, later conceded that the claim was misleading, and eventually agreed to remove the claim from his website.
Brinn's grappling ability was also called into question; at that point it had never been tested by any member of Bullshido, nor did he have a competition record. SifuJason invited Brinn to a Throwdown he was hosting on June 14. Brinn replied that he was willing to attend, but could not roll because of an injured shoulder. SifuJason offered to roll with Brinn lightly, being careful not to aggravate his injury. After much discussion, Brinn agreed to this.
The Bullshido throwdown took place on June 14, 2009, at SifuJason's school in Chapel Hill, NC. Members Johnny5, Maofas, and Whacker were also in attendance. SifuJason posted a gallery of photos from the event, though unfortunately no video was available due to a camera malfunction. Maofas also wrote a brief assessment of Brinn's performance:
Jason Brinn seemed like a nice enough guy. I'm not qualified to judge a person's bjj (1.5 years judo), but it seemed like Mr. Brinn knew a lot more tactical do-this-here moves than I do, but couldn't apply them on me unless I went compliant because I was always pinning him with my weight. I tried to be as light tho as possible due to his shoulder and I weighed 2 pounds more than him (177 vs 175).
SifuJason gave the following evaluation:
I rolled with Mr. Brinn for several minutes at a light pace, keeping in mind his shoulder injury. During this time, it was apparent that he had some skill on the ground. After a brief exchange, I ended up in his guard, which was fairly active. He knew how to hip out, how to grip, and made several submission attempts, and attempted to po prevent my guard passing. However, I found it very easy to pass his guard and achieve side mount, which I was able to maintain at will with little difficulty. I then performed an armbar at half-speed, and had it secured but kept it loose as to not injure Mr. Brinn's shoulder (since it was on his bad side). I thus ended up in his guard, and we stopped rolling, so that others could have an opportunity to do so, and so that I could supervise the rest of the throwdown. Overall, I would say that Mr. Brinn had skill superior to most BJJ white belts I have rolled with, but not superior to any BJJ blue belt I have rolled with. His technical knowledge seemed to exceed his ability to perform it, which to some extent is true of anyone, and which could have been due to his injury.
The findings of the investigation team led by SifuJason are as follows:
- Brinn claimed that he had 14 years of BJJ experience without receiving any rank. When members of the Bullshido website actually rolled with Jason Brinn they found a level of skill and experience that did not represent 14 years of training in BJJ, and this figure was quite misleading. Brinn has changed how he portrays himself to be more consistent with the skills observed at the Throwdown.
- Brinn claimed that he had studied under Carlos Machado, FMA expert Bill McGrath, Joe Lewis, and many other prominent masters. Bullshido never established that Brinn did not take seminars with these individuals; however, Brinn admitted that his BJJ training was a product of seminars and never offered proof that he had a longer lasting training relationship with Machado, McGrath, and Lewis. Brinn also said that he had trained with Carlos Lemos, a BJJ instructor in Gardner, N.C. but "not that much". Brinn would continue to mention being affiliated with various fighters such as Chuck Liddell, even though at most, he would only have met them at seminars.
- Brinn claimed that Rob and Guy Pendergrass, Billy Dowey, and Jason Culbreth of Crossfit could vouch that he had trained with Carlos Lemos. However, Dowey and Culbreth did not recall Brinn, and the Pendergrass brothers did not think he had extensive experience or training in BJJ.
- Brinn claimed that several companies sponsored his school, including TapouT, Affliction, Everlast, Fairtex, No Fear, and several other high-profile companies, many of which were direct competitors to one another. These companies were only advertised on his school's website through MMAwarehouse, which was the website's main advertiser, and not a sponsor.
- Brinn's school website claimed to be better than other local MMA schools, citing MMACTC's diversity of styles and experience and comparing it invidiously to a BJJ-only school. These claims were taken down from the school website and Rick Harper, who owned the school, apologized for this aspect of their advertising.
Sometime on or before the 7th of July, 2009, the following notice replaced the page for MMACTC.com, with a page title that read: "Hi I AM Jason Brinn the FRAUD", by "Rick" who identified himself as the school's owner:
My name is Rick and I was the owner of Mixed Martial Arts Cross Training Centers (MMACTC).
Sadly I must say that I have closed down and not do to not having enough clients it is do very poor management.
Wow did I pick the wrong person, for he said that he had owned his own business and I trusted him.
But after awhile I started researching him and I found that all the people that he said he knew well they knew nothing of him.
I gave Jason Brinn and great place to run but yet it was run into the ground for he seemed to have hidden agendas.
I should have known for many a time he told me that he would have to leave if it got in the way of his family obligation.
You must respect a man when family comes first but I truthfully believe that there were hidden agendas like getting a team set up and then leave with them to call his name Team American.
Jason Brinn seems to be a fraud and the worst type of person for I truly believed in his moral faith in GOD; I was pulled in by his personality and did not take a hard look at his background.
I should have paid more attention to what was being said about him on Bullshido.net.
Well life goes on and it is just a tax write off.