In light of the recent misinformation being disseminated via social media, and with the express consent of Mr Najafi, the UKBJJA makes the following statement.
In March 2021, the UKBJJA received a complaint about Mr Najafi, in relation to allegations of serious misconduct.
In accordance with paragraph 3.1 of the UKBJJA Complaints & Disciplinary Policy, this complaint was assessed by the UKBJJA Complaints Officer; additionally, support was offered to the complainant.
Following a full and proper assessment of all the material presented to him, from both the complainant and Mr Najafi, the Complaints Officer concluded that the complaint did not warrant further investigation and, accordingly, should be dismissed.
In brief terms, the Complaints Officer was satisfied that there had been no wrongdoing on the part of Mr Najafi.
While the UKBJJA has concluded that there was no wrongdoing in this instance, we recognise that there may be instances of wrongdoing in our sport in the future and, as such, there is a need to ensure that all practitioners have a clear path to report any instances of harassment, bullying, and misconduct, etc. and to be sure that any reports will be thoroughly and impartially assessed and investigated.
The UKBJJA complaints procedure is something that I am proud of. As an Association we are here to give people strength and support and we have a robust and independent complaints system in place, hyperlinked above, which is, at first instance, administered by Lawrence Selby, our Complaints Officer, who can be contacted in confidence at [email protected].
If/when required, and in accordance with our Policy, the Complaints Officer, entrusts any further investigation to the Complaints Investigator, Lee Hughes.
Both Mr Selby and Mr Hughes are practicing barristers, with a wealth of experience and expertise in dealing with such matters.
Furthermore, I would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm that implementing our Code of Conduct is a key part of the next phase of the development of the Association. The UKBJJA Code of Conduct was established over two years ago, and we expect all members and clubs to abide by it.
We recommend that all academies review their current policies and if needed, seek additional support by contacting [email protected]. As a sport we are not even close to where we should be in this area, and I hope that all of us can make positive steps forward in the coming years to make sure that our sport is safe.
Finally, I would like to commend Roger Gracie for giving clear backing to his instructor, which he did confidently, properly and publicly, no doubt as a result of knowing what was happening at his academy, and at its affiliates, and by being fully involved in any internal investigation.
The Head of an Affiliation has a responsibility to protect everyone under his leadership, including getting to know the character of his instructors and taking action when required. Without strong leadership from the Heads of Affiliations it is left to strong individuals to ensure that “right” is being done; that should not have to be the case.
Richard Martin, Chair,
for and on behalf of the UKBJJA