Ericka Almeida, a former Jungle Fight strawweight champion who fought twice under the UFC banner in 2015, accused her ex-coach Herman Gutierrez of assault. Almeida’s sister, Ellen Almeida, has also pressed charges against him for assault. Brazilian TV show Fantastico reported the news on Sunday night.
Ericka was 17 when she started working at Gutierrez’s gym in Sorocaba as a receptionist in 2007. Gutierrez, who was 38 at the time, was married to another woman when they started a relationship.
According to Ericka, the aggressive behavior started some time after. For any reason, like wearing makeup, Gutierrez would verbally and physically assault her, she said. The former UFC fighter says Gutierrez would often push her and hit her with kicks or elbows.
Ellen, who didn’t know her sister was also having a relationship with the coach, started dating him after joining the team to train. She also accuses Gutierrez of assault. In her diary, she wrote at the time that “every single month one of us gets beat up. Almost every single day he threatens us.”
Fantastico aired a recorded phone call between Ericka and Gutierrez, from 2017, in which he can be heard calling her a “b****,” saying he was being expelled from the team, and asking Almeida when she didn’t “deserve” to get hit.
Later that year, Ericka says she was assaulted after Gutierrez saw that she was texting with friends in a group chat on the phone. With a bloody face, Almeida recorded a video on her phone saying, “Nobody deserves this, nobody. I never thought this would happen to me. But if something happens, it was Herman who came to my home to do this.”
Fantastico showed Gutierrez the video. He denies doing that to Almeida, and questions why she never pressed charges against him before. Almeida says she was afraid that something would happen to her family.
A friend convinced Ericka to finally tell her parents about the situation, break up with Gutierrez and then move to another city. Now living in Curitiba and engaged to another man, Almeida decided to press charges against Gutierrez. Almeida’s lawyer wants Gutierrez to be charged with attempt murder.
Speaking with the police, Gutierrez denied the assaults but confirmed he had a relationship with her. In an interview with Fantastico, he denied both the assaults and the relationship. After hearing the aforementioned phone call audio, Gutierrez covered the TV camera and ended the interview.
Almeida signed with the UFC in 2015 after winning and defending the Jungle Fight strawweight belt, improving to 7-0 as a professional fighter. She came up short under the UFC banner, losing decisions to Juliana Lima and Aisling Daly. Three months after a split decision defeat to Virna Jandiroba in Brazil in April 2017, Almeida returned to the win column with a first-round TKO over Luciane Silva. She hasn’t fought since.