With his training camp in its latter stages and his bout with Keith Jardine at UFC 89 less then two weeks away, Brandon Vera woke up around 4 a.m. with his Brazilian jiu-jitsu coach, Lloyd Irvin, standing over his bed.
“He said, ‘Hey Brandon’ and I thought it was a bad dream,” Vera recalled. “I thought he was going to make me work out. He said, ‘Right now I’m being robbed. I need you out of bed. You need to be quiet. Just calm down, just relax and don’t say anything.’”
Two men had entered Irvin’s house through his basement window early that morning. Vera was staying at the house with Irvin’s wife, child and a mutual friend, Thad. The men gathered Irvin, his wife, child and Vera into a room upstairs eventually forcing Vera and Irvin’s wife to lie flat on the ground. The men were very organized.
“They were lined up in stagger formation a few feet apart and three to five feet from us so there was no way we could make contact with them, but they could make contact with us,” said Vera. “They spoke in clear and concise language. They were pros and that’s what bothered me the most about them. They knew what they were doing exactly and what they were going for.”
Once the two men had Vera, Irvin and his family in one room, one of them went across the hall to go get Thad. When he left the room Irvin made his move.
“As soon as he left, Master Lloyd starting telling him that he was going to throw up, saying, ‘I don’t feel good. I don’t understand what you’re telling me to do,’" said Vera. "The guy is pointing around with the gun trying to tell Master Lloyd what to do and Master Lloyd said every time he saw the gun wave to the side he said, ‘Got it. Got it. Got it.’ And then he said the guy waved the gun one more time and that’s when he just grabbed it, pinned him up against the wall, pushed the gun into his stomach and pushed the release on the gun for the magazine to drop out.”
Irvin then dropped to the floor to grab the gun and he gave Vera another gun he had in the house. Irvin fired a shot from his son’s upstairs bedroom window into the backyard as the two men fled the scene. The police were called to the scene soon after to put an end to an experience Vera described as “surreal.”
“I went and trained the morning after,” said Vera. “Later on I went to train for a session that evening. I was still nervous about being in a crowd. I had to sleep with a gun on me. I’m getting my license so I could carry wherever I go now.
It’s changed my thinking a lot because if it could happen to me it could happen to anybody. It doesn’t matter where you’re living at, neighborhood or wherever.”