Jiu-Jitsu Coach, ‘TUF 18’ Vet Rafael ‘Barata’ Accused of Drugging, Raping Client

By: Tristen Critchfield
Dec 6, 2020

Rafael de Freitas, a former competitor on “The Ultimate Fighter 18” and a prominent jiu-jitsu instructor in Albuquerque, N.M., has been accused of drugging and raping a client, according to a report from the Albuquerque Journal.

De Freitas, who is known as “Barata,” has been jailed and charged with criminal sexual penetration stemming from a Nov. 7 incident after a female client captured the alleged incident on a security camera in her living room. De Freitas is a primary instructor at Gracie Barra New Mexico Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Albuquerque and was part of Holly Holm’s team as recently as the former bantamweight champion’s victory over Irene Aldana at UFC on ESPN 16 in Abu Dhabi on Oct. 3, according to posts on de Freitas’ Instagram page.

According to the Journal report, de Freitas was also listed as an instructor on the Jackson-Wink MMA website as recently as Saturday morning before the page was removed from the site.

“All I’ve been told is he is not an employee of Jackson-Wink Academy and he never has been,” Jackson-Wink spokesman James Hallinan told the Journal. “If the website hasn’t been updated, it’s in the process right now.

According to a police report obtained by the Albuquerque Journal, de Freitas is seen “possibly” dropping a substance into the woman’s orange juice while she is in the bathroom. The woman, who had been taking lessons from de Freitas for several years, had the instructor in her home to get a massage to alleviate cramping in her legs. The victim claims she began “feeling sleepy” and “quickly passed out” as de Freitas began the massage.

When the woman awoke, she was naked from the waist down. When she messaged de Freitas to express her embarrassment, he responded, “Yeah, you were fine don’t feel this way at all you’re good.”

According to security footage given to the police, the woman’s legs appear to get “heavy” during the massage and de Freitas is seen removing her shorts, where he allegedly performs oral sex on her while she is passed out. The instructor also appears to rub the woman’s “limp” hand on his genitals before leaving. The woman remains motionless on the couch for 50 minutes before getting up.

The victim told police that de Freitas is flirtatious with her and other clients and that she sometimes “found his behavior inappropriate” but there was never any romantic involvement between the two.

The 37-year-old de Freitas enjoyed some success competing in MMA from 2007 to 2014. He compiled a 6-1 mark that included a draw against former World Extreme Cagefighting veteran Antonio Banuelos and a loss to UFC vet Jordan Espinosa in Legacy Fighting Championship and suffered a second-round TKO defeat to Cody Bollinger in the elimination round of “TUF 18.”

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