OTM Instructor of the Year: Lloyd Irvin
This award goes to an instructor in the sports of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), Jiu-Jitsu (Gi), or Submission Grappling (No-Gi) that have shown tremendous leadership, direction, and instruction, while developing their academy, students, and competition team. Once again, this award was the most difficult award to decide with so many accomplished competitors and qualified instructors now teaching the next generation of combat sport phenoms around the world. That being said, we are proud to announce that the 2012 "OTM Instructor of the Year" award goes to Lloyd Irvin.
Irvin is a black belt in jiu-jitsu under Leo Dalla and the founder and owner of Lloyd Irvin’s Mixed Martial Arts Academy (LIMMA), which is based in Maryland just outside of Washington, D.C. LIMMA now has over 20 affilliate schools on the east coast of North America stretching from south Florida all the way to Ontario, Canada. More impressively, Irvin has produced some of the world’s most elite competitors in Mixed Martial Arts, Jiu-Jitsu, and Submission Grappling.
A short list of athletes that Irvin has produced or instructs include the likes of Mike Fowler, Jimmy Harbison, J.T. Torres, Nakapan Phungephorn, Todd Margolis, Ed Clay, Jared Weiner, Keenan Cornelius, and Nyjah Easton in Jiu-Jitsu and Submission Grappling. On top of that, he has helped coach some of the finest fighters in MMA such as UFC stars Dominick Cruz (UFC bantamweight champion), Brandon Vera, Phil Davis, and Mike Easton. Irvin’s coaching prowess has also recently been enlisted by two of the UFC’s biggest European stars, Alexander Gustafsson and Ross Pearson.
In 2012, Irvin and his students had an incredible year. Irvin and one of his highest profile students Dominick Cruz were thrown into the national spotlight last spring, as Cruz coached opposite his arch-rival Urijah Faber on the fiftteenth season of the UFC’s hit reality television show The Ultimate Fighter. It was the first season that the show was televised on FX, which is part of the FOX family, and each episode was aired live for the first time in the history of the show. Irvin served as the head Jiu-Jitsu coach for Team Cruz.
A month after The Ultimate Fighter 15 – Cruz vs. Faber concluded, one of Irvin’s most decorated Jiu-Jitsu black belts, Jimmy Harbison, was recruited by UFC star Ross Pearson to be the head Jiu-Jitsu coach for Team UK on The Ultimate Fighter – Smashes. This was the first time the show was filmed in Australia and featured Team Australia coached by George Sotiropoulos vs. Team UK coached by Ross Pearson.
Irvin also saw his next generation of his of students dominate in Mixed Martial Arts, Jiu-Jitsu, and Submission Grappling in 2012. Mike Easton improved his UFC record to 3-1, which included a 3-fight win streak in MMA’s leading organization. That win streak was highlighted with a win over longtime UFC veteran and bantamweight star Ivan Menjivar at UFC 148 in July.
Easton’s younger sister Nyjah Easton also had a very successful year on the international jiu-jitsu circuit. She won her Brown Belt divisions at the IBJJF Euros and Pan-Ams before winning her combined Purple|Brown|Black Belt division at WPJJC 2012. One month later, she took second at the Worlds. A few weeks after that, she received her Black Belt from Irvin. Nyjah finished the year by submitting Sofia Amarante via Kimura in the world’s first women’s Black Belt No-Time Limit/Submission Only match at The BJJ Kumite in December.
Then of course there is the phenomenal year and success that was enjoyed by Keenan Cornelius, who is perhaps Irvin’s most prodigious up-and-coming student. He swept his weight class and absolute Purple Belt divisions at the Euros, Pan-Ams, and Worlds in the first half of the year. Then after getting promoted to Brown Belt at mid-year, he proceded to move up a weight class and dismantle his competiton at the ADCC North American Trials, No-Gi Worlds, and The BJJ Kumite.
It should also be noted that The BJJ Kumite was the brainchild of Lloyd Irvin. He invited all of the best Jiu-Jitsu Brown Belts from around the world flying to Maryland in December. The athletes then competed in a prestigious and heavily publicized round-robin Gi & No-Gi tournament for $5,000 in prize money to determine the world’s best Brown Belt.
OTM proudly announces that Lloyd Irvin is the winner of the 2012 "OTM Instructor of the Year" award and eagerly look forward to watching his students compete in the near future!
Click here to view the previous "OTM Insturctor of the Year" Awards.