With his training camp in its latter stages and his bout with
Jardine at UFC 89 less than 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.’”
In an incident first reported by BloodyElbow.com, 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
Amazingly, Vera said the experience didn’t have an effect on him
during his fight. To the contrary, Vera cherishes his light
heavyweight contest last Saturday in Birmingham, England, even
though he ended up on the wrong end of a split decision to
“I can honestly tell you that was my most favorite fight ever,” he
said. “I enjoyed that fight immensely. The whole thing was great.
We just kept hitting each other really hard. That was a growing,
learning experience for me. That fight was bad ass; I enjoyed it
Vera’s loss to Jardine was the third in his last four bouts,
however, prompting UFC President Dana White to comment that Vera
“doesn’t have that killer instinct” and that he “hasn’t been the
same guy” since Vera took that year off because of contract issues.
Vera just chalks the comments up to business.
“Man, I went to a split decision with a guy that knocked out the
current champ and won a decision with Chuck Liddell
the former champ,” said Vera, who has one bout remaining on his UFC
contract. “I mean its business. Now we have to renegotiate my
contract and him saying that out in public makes him a good case
for not paying me any more. It’s just the employee wants more money
and the boss just doesn’t want to pay more -- that’s just how it
is. That’s going to be one of those arguments up there along with
abortion, religion and politics. It’s always going to be like that.
At least Vera’s life-altering experience hasn’t hampered his sense
of humor. During those few tense moments, Vera said this thought
crossed his mind.
"I remember going inside and I remember thinking, ‘How come you
didn't show up earlier so I didn't have to go through this stupid
training camp?’" he told Sherdog.com. "‘You should have come when I
was out of shape and fat before I went through hell.’"