Tarverdyan Bankruptcy Tapes: Listen to Ronda Rousey’s coach under oath

It's been a rough few months for Ronda Rousey's coach, Edmond Tarverdyan. Last November, Bloody Elbow broke the news that he had filed for…

By: Paul Gift | 8 years ago
Tarverdyan Bankruptcy Tapes: Listen to Ronda Rousey’s coach under oath
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

It’s been a rough few months for Ronda Rousey’s coach, Edmond Tarverdyan. Last November, Bloody Elbow broke the news that he had filed for bankruptcy, claiming to have over $700,000 in debts while earning “$0.00” in average monthly income with only $3,300 in assets.

Following Holly Holm’s dominant knockout win over Rousey a couple weeks later at UFC 193, the MMA community rained down intense criticism on the coach for what seemed to be a seriously flawed gameplan and almost comically-absurd corner advice in between the 1st and 2nd rounds. More recently, we’ve learned that Tarverdyan had his California corner’s license temporarily revoked and ultimately suspended for three months, along with a $5,000 fine, for submitting a false application with regard to past criminal offenses.

And there’s still a chance things could get worse.

Tarverdyan filed for bankruptcy on July 29, 2015 and has attended two creditor meetings (also known as 341 hearings), the first on Sept. 2, 2015 and the second on Dec. 9, 2015. At each hearing, he was placed under oath and swore to truthfully answer the trustee’s questions regarding his financial affairs. A trustee is the overseer and administrator of Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases tasked with identifying and liquidating a debtor’s assets so that as much money as possible is returned to unsecured creditors.

Bloody Elbow attended the December 341 hearing and transcribed the key elements of Tarverdyan’s testimony, observing statements such as “I really didn’t know,” “I was really in shock,” and “I didn’t even understand.” There were references to the September hearing, including to testimony that Tarverdyan had transferred the Glendale Fighting Club to someone other than his wife, Diana Avetisyan.

These references didn’t make much sense at the time. News of Tarverdyan’s bankruptcy didn’t break until November, so we had no idea what was said in the prior hearing. We only knew what was in Tarverdyan’s paperwork and what he said in the December hearing, namely that he didn’t know what was going on, appeared to be placing blame on his original attorney for “significant errors” in his bankruptcy petition, was now saying his wife is the owner of GFC, and he talked about receiving approximately $200,000-300,000 to-date in 2015 from training Ronda Rousey.

We didn’t know that this testimony was markedly different from what was offered three months earlier when Tarverdyan’s bankruptcy filing wasn’t yet public knowledge, and the trustee might not have known he trained one of the UFC’s biggest stars.

We didn’t know that in September, Tarverdyan testified, “No, not really,” when asked if he had any source of income at all, and went on to say, “…sometimes I do personal trainings, like I get fifty bucks, forty bucks, but I wouldn’t call it that much of an income.” We didn’t know he testified that while he used to own the Glendale Fighting Club (GFC), he “…couldn’t make the payments and couldn’t just run it…” so he let a student, Sevak Ohanjanyan, take it over “maybe five, six years ago.” We also didn’t know that, when asked if his wife owned any assets not listed in his bankruptcy schedules, Tarverdyan replied, “No, sir.”

Bloody Elbow has obtained the audio recordings of both of Tarverdyan’s 341 hearings. Readers can listen to the hearings in their entirety in the embedded video above. If there are any problems, click here for the direct YouTube link. A complete transcription of testimony in both hearings can also be read below.

There appear to be many inconsistencies in Tarverdyan’s testimony. For example:

  • In September, when asked if he’s ever received portions of a purse from fighters he’s worked with, Tarverdyan replied, “No, not, not, nothing. Nothing but a few hundred dollars, that’s it.” In December, when asked to estimate how much he’s received in 2015 from training Ronda Rousey, he answers, “It’s in, it’s in the, it’s in the six-figure mark.”
  • In September, Tarverdyan testified that Sevak Ohanjanyan has taken over GFC for five or six years. In December, he says that his wife owns the gym.
  • In September, Tarverdyan stated that he doesn’t have keys to GFC. In December, he appears to call GFC “my gym.”
  • In September, Tarverdyan said he’s never had any interest at all in a particular real estate property. Later in the same hearing, the trustee shows Tarverdyan a deed to the property with his signature on it.

Readers are encouraged to listen to the complete audio of both hearings or review the transcripts. There’s a good chance the apparent inconsistencies above won’t be the only statements to raise eyebrows.

So how serious is this situation?

Bloody Elbow asked attorneys Jason Cruz of MMA Payout and Cruz Law and Erik Magraken of Combat Sports Law to share their legal perspectives on the apparent inconsistencies in Tarverdyan’s September and December testimonies. Here’s what they had to say.

Jason Cruz:

Having represented debtors at this kind of hearing, I advise clients not to make any bold assertions or speculate on any questions despite the fact most of the information asked about is in the debtor’s paperwork. I also tell them not to lie or misrepresent information. While the purpose of the 341 hearing is for the debtor to talk to the trustees and any creditors that may appear, the attorney may correct information that might be omitted or knowingly not correct. It does not mean someone is lying under oath, but ensures that the record is accurate.

As for whether inconsistent testimony may hurt Tarverdyan’s bankruptcy proceeding, it’s hard to say. A bankruptcy trustee hears tons of stories of a debtor’s financial misfortunes. Of course, Tarverdyan’s stories leave the trustee to determine the veracity of his testimony. This will likely lead to a 2004 examination (named after the section in the Bankruptcy Code) for Tarverdyan, which is like a deposition and more formal than his 341 hearings.

If it is discovered that Tarverdyan lied, he could have his bankruptcy case dismissed and even be guilty of perjury (i.e., lying under oath).

Erik Magraken:

Not all inconsistencies in sworn testimony give rise to serious consequences such as allegations of fraud or perjury. Perjury prosecutions are fairly rare events and not all inconsistent or even contradictory statements lead to such a consequence. A fundamental question is whether there is any explanation that can reconcile sworn evidence which is seemingly inconsistent or contradictory on its face.

Generally the administration of justice is concerned that the underlying goals of its process are fulfilled. In the case of bankruptcy proceedings those goals are that assets are accurately disclosed so that creditors can be paid what they are rightfully owed.

It is always good legal strategy to be candid in sworn testimony and sworn legal filings. If a bankruptcy trustee is concerned that the sworn evidence is inaccurate and misleading then steeper legal consequences can be pursued. It’s important to remember proof beyond a reasonable doubt is needed if allegations of perjury are contemplated.

Hopefully for this individual’s sake and the sake of his creditors he is cooperating with the legal process and being candid in all of his sworn testimony.

In speaking with Bloody Elbow in December, Tarverdyan said the whole thing has been blown out of proportion and will soon be cleared up. While that may eventually happen, the new information from the September hearing only seems to raise even more questions.

Bloody Elbow spoke with the Chapter 7 Trustee on the case, Jason M. Rund, who provided the following statement, “I am continuing to investigate the debtor’s financial affairs in light of the information I obtained at the creditors’ meetings and in the subsequent documents he has provided.”

Bloody Elbow will keep readers updated as the case progresses.

Paul is Bloody Elbow’s analytics and business writer. Follow him @MMAanalytics.

341 Hearing, Sept. 2, 2015

Trustee: Good morning. Please raise your right hand. Do you solemnly swear or affirm the testimony you’re about to give be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
Tarverdyan: I do.

Trustee: Thank you. Your name please?
Tarverdyan: Edmond Tarverdyan.

Trustee: And is your current address listed on your bankruptcy petition?
Tarverdyan: Yes.

Trustee: And how long have you lived at that address?
Tarverdyan: Five years, six years.

Trustee: And have you filed bankruptcy before?
Tarverdyan: Yes. Like a month ago, actually.

Trustee: And what happened to that case?
Tarverdyan: I couldn’t come in to the thing. I couldn’t make it. Emergency reasons, so I didn’t come.

Trustee: So do you know if the case was dismissed?
Tarverdyan’s attorney: It was dismissed. The filing was in May. May 29th. There was no appearance at the 341 so it was dismissed.

Trustee: Alright. Any other bankruptcies?
Tarverdyan: No.

Trustee: Did you read the green information brochure?
Tarverdyan: I did.

Trustee: Do you owe any support obligations such as alimony or child support?
Tarverdyan: No, sir.

Trustee: Are you currently employed?
Tarverdyan: No.

Trustee: When were you last employed?
Tarverdyan: Maybe six years ago. Five, six years ago.

Trustee: And what was your last employment that you had?
Tarverdyan: Trainer.

Trustee: For what?
Tarverdyan: Martial arts.

Trustee: And is there a reason that you have not worked in the last five or six years?
Tarverdyan: No. Just trying to get a new fighter. You know, trying to look for fighters, just.

Trustee: Do you have any source of income at all?
Tarverdyan: No, not really.

Trustee: How do you, how do you support yourself? How do you pay your…
Tarverdyan: Like. I do, like, you know, sometimes I do personal trainings like I get fifty bucks, forty bucks, but I wouldn’t call it that much of an income.

Trustee: Do you have a gym that you train out of?
Tarverdyan: Yes, I go to different gyms and I train fighters there.

Trustee: Which gyms do you train fighters out of?
Tarverdyan: Uh, Glendale and Wild Card Boxing Club. A few.

Trustee: Wild Card Boxing, is that in Glendale or…
Tarverdyan: No, Santa Monica.

Trustee: And what is the one in Glendale?
Tarverdyan: Glendale Fighting Club.

Trustee: Any other source of income besides occasional training?
Tarverdyan: No, sir.

Trustee: And are you married?
Tarverdyan: Yes.

Trustee: Does your spouse have any income?
Tarverdyan: Yes.

Trustee: Her employer is not listed. Who is her employer?
Tarverdyan: Social worker. She’s a social worker.

Trustee: For who?
Tarverdyan: Los Angeles County.

Trustee: So you’ve had no other employment in the last five or six years except working as a…
Tarverdyan: Trainer, yes.

Trustee: In those five or six years, have you received any portions of any purses or winnings of any of the fighters that you’ve worked with?
Tarverdyan: No, not, not, nothing. Nothing but a few hundred dollars, that’s it.

Trustee: In the last five or six years?
Tarverdyan: Yeah.

Trustee: Did you read and sign your bankruptcy petition, schedules, and statements?
Tarverdyan: Yes.

Trustee: Are you personally familiar with everything contained in your bankruptcy petition, schedules, and statements?
Tarverdyan: Yes.

Trustee: To the best of your knowledge, is that information all true, correct, and complete?
Tarverdyan: Yes.

Trustee: Any errors, omissions, or mistakes that you need to bring to my attention or the courts attention?
Tarverdyan: Not that I know of.

Trustee: Are all of your, are all of your assets listed in your bankruptcy schedules?
Tarverdyan: Yes.

Trustee: Are all of your creditors listed in your bankruptcy schedules?
Tarverdyan: Yes.

Trustee: Have you transferred, sold, or given away anything of the value of $5,000 or more in the last four years?
Tarverdyan: No, sir.

Trustee: Are you, now does your wife own any assets that are not listed in your bankruptcy schedules?
Tarverdyan: [In a low voice] No, sir.

Trustee: I’m sorry?
Tarverdyan: No, sir.

Trustee: Does your wife have a bank account?
Tarverdyan: Yes.

Trustee: At what bank?
Tarverdyan: I think it’s Union Bank. City or Union, yeah, well.

Trustee: Do you have a bank account?
Tarverdyan: No.

Trustee: Are you on that account with her?
Tarverdyan: No.

Trustee: Is that used as a community account for both of your expenses?
Tarverdyan: No, she uses it. I really don’t need it.

Trustee: Okay, it sounds like it’s a community account if there’s only one account for both.
Tarverdyan’s attorney: We can, we can amend.

Trustee: Do you have any accounts for your business as a fight trainer or any other business?
Tarverdyan: No, I don’t.

Trustee: Are all of your creditors and debts listed in your bankruptcy schedules?
Tarverdyan: Yes.

Trustee: And, you have some large debts. What, what, what did you utilize-. First of all, when did you last incur any debt at all?
Tarverdyan: Debt. Seven years ago. Six, seven years ago.

[Writer’s Note: See Bloody Elbow’s earlier coverage of this story for more information on Tarverdyan’s claimed debts.]

Trustee: And what was this debt used for?
Tarverdyan: Well, you know, when I started, I opened up a gym and I thought I could be successful on brand. I got a good location and then, you know, just couldn’t, too much overhead. And I thought I could, you know, open up a gym but then wanted to work with fighters. And working with fighters, you’re not going to be running a gym, you know, at that level instead of just for the general public because I just want to have great fighters and fighters don’t make any money. So, you know, it never worked. It just went everything went down the drain.

Trustee: So all these, all, what percentage of your total debt was related to the gym?
Tarverdyan: Fifty/fifty I would say.

Trustee: Fifty per-, and what, so the fifty percent that was not related to the gym, what was that used for?
Tarverdyan: Just, again, just putting everything together thinking that I could, you know, just grow the business and just uh [Tarverdyan’s attorney whispers “living expenses”] living expenses and just doing it.

Trustee: Okay well your attorney helped you out there.
Tarverdyan: No, just, yeah, just, I just spended it. Spended it and went crazy and just thought I could, I could get out of it, but, you know, there’s no way around it.

Trustee: And what was the name of the gym?
Tarverdyan: Glendale Fighting Club.

Trustee: The one that you still train at?
Tarverdyan: No. I don’t train at that gym at this, currently right now.

Trustee: So what happened to the gym? The gym is still there, right?
Tarverdyan: Yes, this gym is still running.

Trustee: Are you still involved with the gym?
Tarverdyan: Yes, I do. But I don’t train any fighters from that gym.

Trustee: What is your involvement with the gym?
Tarverdyan: Nothing. Just, I just go right to see if there’s any fighters, you know, just to help out if anybody I could get as a trainer. Because what happens with trainers is you make ten percent of people that fight and these people, you know, you need a special fighter to only get a thousand dollars or two thousand dollars to fight, unless you have somebody special. So you just work like that until you establish a name.

Trustee: But you used to own this gym, right?
Tarverdyan: Yes.

Trustee: Okay. That’s what I’m trying to understand. Did you sell the gym? What happened to the gym?
Tarverdyan: No, just couldn’t, couldn’t make the payments and couldn’t just run it, you know, and just, can’t do anything with it.

Trustee: So who runs it now?
Tarverdyan: (Unintelligible) runs it. A student of mine took over and started running it and, but it’s not doing well so.

Trustee: When did your student take it over?
Tarverdyan: Maybe five, six years ago.

Trustee: And so is it a corporation?
Tarverdyan: I don’t know. Likely so.

Trustee: You don’t know. When you owned the gym was it a corporation?
Tarverdyan: No. No it wasn’t.

Trustee: What is your student’s name?
Tarverdyan: Sevak Ohanjanyan.

Trustee: Can you spell his name, please?
Tarverdyan: S-E-V-A-K, O-…

Trustee: S-E-V, I’m sorry, S-E-V…
Tarverdyan: A-K, O-H-A-N-J-A-N-Y-A-N.

Trustee: We’re going to have to do this again.
Tarverdyan: O-H-A-N-J-A-N-Y-A-N.

Trustee: J-A-Y.
Tarverdyan: A-N.

Trustee: So S-E-V-A-K, O-H-A-N-J-A-Y-A-N.
Tarverdyan: Yes.

Trustee: And his last name?
Tarverdyan: That’s his last name.

Trustee: So what is…
Tarverdyan: S-E-V-A-K.

Trustee: And do you know where, do you know where he can be reached?
Tarverdyan: Yeah.

Trustee: Where can he be reached?
Tarverdyan: I can give you his number.

Trustee: Sure.
Tarverdyan: It’s [Phone number redacted by Bloody Elbow].

Trustee: And does he have a, does he work, is he at the club every, at the Glendale Fighting Club every day?
Tarverdyan: Not every day. He’s usually there, yes.

Trustee: And how often do you go to the club?
Tarverdyan: Three times a week. Two, three times a week.

Trustee: And what do you do?
Tarverdyan: In the mornings I go to see if I could, you know, just train fighters and just make a living like that.

Trustee: How is he keeping the gym going?
Tarverdyan: Well it’s not doing well but he the kids, kids programs so.

Trustee: Did you obtain any bank loans for the gym or just credit cards. How did you…
Tarverdyan: Yeah, I just got loans from banks and just to, did advertisements just to grow the business and.

Trustee: Did (unintelligible) any financial statements? Did you give anyone a financial statement with your income on it or your…
Tarverdyan: No.

Trustee: List of your assets?
Tarverdyan: No.

Trustee: Have you, have you owned any other businesses in the last ten years besides the Glendale Fighting Club?
Tarverdyan: No.

Trustee: Have you owned or transferred any real estate in the last four years?
Tarverdyan: No, sir.

Trustee: The property at [Address redacted by Bloody Elbow], who owns that property?
Tarverdyan: Renting it.

Trustee: Who is the owner of the property?
Tarverdyan: The owner is Samuel Avetisyan, I think. Yes.

Trustee: Did you ever have any, were you ever on title to that property?
Tarverdyan: No, sir.

Trustee: You never had any type of interest in that property at all?
Tarverdyan: No.

Trustee: How about your wife?
Tarverdyan: No, no.

Trustee: Who is, is Samuel Avetisyan a relative or a friend?
Tarverdyan: Yeah, it’s a relative.

Trustee: What is his relationship?
Tarverdyan: It’s my, I think it’s under her name or in my mother-in-law’s name. It has to do with my wife but I don’t know exactly if it’s her name or two, probably two people own it. I don’t know. I don’t ask them those kinds of questions.

Trustee: Is your wife an owner of the property?
Tarverdyan: No, no.

Trustee: Has she ever been an owner of the property?
Tarverdyan: No.

Trustee: Do you know if there’s a loan on the property?
Tarverdyan: No, I don’t know.

Trustee: I’m going to sh-, I’m going to show you a deed. This deed, see this up here, May 23, 2012?
Tarverdyan: Uh-huh.

Trustee: Is that your signature?
Tarverdyan: Yes, it is. Uh-huh.

Trustee: Do you know why you would have given a deed to, who is Diana Avetisyan?
Tarverdyan: That’s my wife.

Trustee: Do you know why you would’ve given a deed to the property to your wife?
Tarverdyan: Uh-uh, no, do not know. Maybe it was under her name or they transferred it to, I don’t, I don’t know any of that.

Trustee: I mean we’re going to have to find out.
Tarverdyan: Okay.

Trustee: Because it’s very important. Do you know why you’re… here’s one from 2015, May 12th, 2015, a grant deed. It says from Diana Avetisyan to Samuel Avetisyan?
Tarverdyan: Yeah, maybe it was under her name and then everything that wasn’t working out, I don’t know.

Trustee: And it says, “This establishes the sole and separate property of a spouse.” Are they married to each other?
Tarverdyan: Who?

Trustee: Diana and Samuel.
Tarverdyan: No, nah, no.

Trustee: You don’t know if, how, and you’ve lived in this property for how long?
Tarverdyan: Five, six years. Six, seven years actually.

Trustee: Do you know how much the property is worth?
Tarverdyan: No.

Trustee: And do you know, again you don’t know if there’s any loans on the property?
Tarverdyan: No.

Trustee: Counselor, I would like that information. I would like the information regarding loan balances on this property. That Mr. Tarverdyan has previously been on. What’s the current value of this property? We’re also going to have an amended Schedule B filed, correct, on the bank account?
Tarverdyan’s attorney: Yes.

Trustee: I would like current credit card statements for all accounts over a hundred thousand, for all of the accounts over a hundred thousand dollars. And when you, when you trans-
Tarverdyan’s attorney: When, when you say current, as in…

Trustee: The most recent statements.
Tarverdyan’s attorney: The most recent statements. I believe his accounts have been closed for a while.

Trustee: Okay, well if we. Well, let’s see. And when you sold, did you sell the business to…
Tarverdyan: No, no it was just I couldn’t run it so. It wasn’t working out for me.

Trustee: Was there any agreement with him?
Tarverdyan: No.

Trustee: So what did you do?
Tarverdyan: Just train fighters to have good fighters, that’s it. It’s just, boxing world.

Trustee: Do you have a key to the gym?
Tarverdyan: No.

Trustee: So how did this come about? You were the owner, you started the gym.
Tarverdyan: Yes.

Trustee: You started the gym…
Tarverdyan: I couldn’t run it and, you know, couldn’t make the payments so somebody took over so they could, they could do it, to see if they could make something out of it.

Trustee: But when that happened, so how did this come about? Did you just call? How did, how did you?
Tarverdyan: No, you just, you know, I was training with him. He was, you know, training with us and he, he thought he could do it and he’s trying to run the gym.

Trustee: And how long ago was that?
Tarverdyan: Like six years ago.

Trustee: So there was no agreement?
Tarverdyan: No agreement, no, because there’s not much in the gym. I mean there is equipment, this and that, but what was I gonna do with it? You know, there’s mats.

Trustee: How big is the gym?
Tarverdyan: Four thousand square feet, approximately. Three thousand something.

Trustee: Alright.
Tarverdyan: Too much overhead, you know.

Trustee: Now, on your, on your bankruptcy schedules the only assets that you list are furnishings and clothing.
Tarverdyan: Yes.

Trustee: Do you have any other assets at all?
Tarverdyan: No, sir.

Trustee: Do you have a vehicle?
Tarverdyan: No.

Trustee: Any retirement accounts?
Tarverdyan: Nothing.

Trustee: Any investment accounts?
Tarverdyan: No, sir.

Trustee: Any one, any source where you might receive money at all?
Tarverdyan: No, sir.

Trustee: Is there any agreement that if he makes this gym successful that he would give you back money?
Tarverdyan: No, sir. No.

Trustee: When did you last file a tax return?
Tarverdyan: Maybe six, seven years ago.

Trustee: And how about your wife?
Tarverdyan: She probably files. Yeah.

Trustee: You don’t file a joint return?
Tarverdyan: No.

Trustee: Okay, I would like, I do have a declaration but I would like the most recently filed tax return. So I’ll continue this for an amendment to Schedule B, the most recently filed tax return, the credit card statements, and the loan balance on the [Street name redacted by Bloody Elbow] property. Any creditors on this matter? I have your California driver’s license which bears your name and likeness and social security card. Social security number matches the number on the bankruptcy notice. I’ve re-, I’ve returned your identification and tax return to you. Any, I have nothing further. Thank you very much.
Tarverdyan’s attorney: And the continuance date was?

Trustee: Oh, I’m sorry. September 29th, 2015, 11:00am, Room 2. Okay, thank you very much.
Tarverdyan: Thank you.

Tarverdyan was absent from the continued Sept. 29th hearing as well as two subsequent rescheduled dates. On Nov. 17, the trustee filed a notice stating he would “request that the court dismiss the case” if Tarverdyan failed to appear at the next hearing on Dec. 9. Tarverdyan changed his attorney on Dec. 8 and appeared at his continued 341 hearing the next day.

341 Hearing, Dec. 9, 2015

Trustee: Good morning. Please raise your right hand. Do you solemnly swear or affirm the testimony you’re about to give be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
Tarverdyan: I do.

Trustee: Thank you. Your name please?
Tarverdyan: Edmond Tarverdyan.

Trustee: Okay, I saw your identification at the prior meeting of ours. You’ve handed me your driver’s license again today, I’ll go ahead and pass that back to you so I don’t forget.
Tarverdyan: Thank you.

Trustee: Since our last hearing, we had requested. Since the original meeting back in September, we had requested certain documents from you. Have you made any efforts to locate those documents?
Tarverdyan: With my new lawyer, I think, yes, he’s on board.

Trustee: When you say on board?
Tarverdyan: Yeah, like, I don’t know exactly which documents you’re talking about so, whatever.
Tarverdyan’s attorney: Mr. Trustee, if I could get a list, I’ll have whatever documents are requested within a week. I am requesting files from former counsel. I don’t have all of them yet.

Trustee: Okay, well, there were, there were two groups of documents. One was a September 3, 2015 inquiry letter from the Office of the United States Trustee requesting certain documents and then at the hearing itself I requested credit card statements. Do you, do you have credit card, any credit card statements in your possession?
Tarverdyan: No.

Trustee: What happened, what happened to credit card statements?
Tarverdyan: I think, I haven’t had credit cards for like eight years and I don’t know where the statements are. I haven’t been getting it, so I don’t have anything. And I let my lawyer know that.

Trustee: Now, at your prior hearing, there was a discussion concerning the Glendale Fight Club.
Tarverdyan: Yes.

Trustee: And your testimony was that you transferred the club. Do you recall that?
Tarverdyan: No. I don’t remember exactly what I said because I wasn’t, I guess, didn’t know exactly what’s going on but now I do after the first hearing. I know exactly what’s going on with the gym and everything so.

Trustee: Well, when you say. We asked you some, you know, pretty direct questions about what was going on with the gym. Okay, and you gave me a gentleman’s name who you said was the owner of the gym.
Tarverdyan: Yes, he runs the gym.

Trustee: Who is the owner of the gym?
Tarverdyan: Diana Avetisyan.

Trustee: I’m sorry?
Tarverdyan: Diana Avetisyan.

Trustee: And who is Diana Avetisyan?
Tarverdyan: That’s my wife.

Trustee: Now you did not tell us that your wife was the owner of the gym in the first…
Tarverdyan: It’s a corporation and I didn’t know because you asked me if there’s a change or anything like that and, with my memory, I haven’t changed anything. It’s just been under her name, the corporation’s been under her name for many years already. That’s what we found out after me speaking to my wife, because most of the things I really don’t look into. I just go out and train fighters and now because of all the situation I really did go back and, after having a new, new lawyer, just found out exactly what’s going on with my situation.

Trustee: Who are the shareholder-, what is the name of corporation?
Tarverdyan: GFC Fitness Incorporated.

Trustee: Who are the shareholders of GFC Fitness Incorporated?
Tarverdyan: My wife would know better but it’s her, her, she’s the president.

Trustee: Have you ever been an officer or director of the corporation?
Tarverdyan: No, I haven’t.

Trustee: Have you ever been a shareholder of the corporation?
Tarverdyan: No, I haven’t.

Trustee: Now, I know you are a trainer and you’ve been in the fight, you know, in the sport of fighting, the business of fighting for a long time.
Tarverdyan: Yes.

Trustee: What is your wife’s experience in the sport, in the business of fighting?
Tarverdyan: She’s known me since eighteen years old so she has a lot of experience with the sport and just understanding what it is.

Trustee: Is there a reason that it was placed into, that your wife is the president of the company as opposed to you being the president?
Tarverdyan: I just, I was very bad with my finances, you know, when I started off and I didn’t do everything right and she was like hey, it’s not going right this way, and I have a lot of debts because of the situation because it wasn’t easy to learn everything myself at a young age and fight at the same time. So I had a lot of financial problems and it was the best decision at that time.

Trustee: And, and as of today it remains in your wife’s name?
Tarverdyan: Yes it does, sir.

Trustee: And she remains the president of the corporation?
Tarverdyan: Yes, sir.

Trustee: Now, you, you told me that, I, I forgot the name of the gentleman that you gave me last time that you said was the owner of the gym?
Tarverdyan: Yeah I, honestly when I, I think I was mis-, misunderstood some of the questions because I didn’t even understand there was seven hundred thousand dollars debt under my name because the attorney, I guess I did look at papers, I did swear that I did read it but I saw the first page. I don’t think I owe that much money after going to my new lawyer and taking out a lot of the, the credit card statements from my credit, I’ve, I don’t owe that much money and I don’t believe that it’s, it’s accurate so I was really in shock. I really didn’t know how I’m answering the questions but Sevak Ohanjanyan does run the gym, and he’s there most of the times, because you said how many times do you go there and I think that’s when I answered the question was him being there most of the time. If, you know, I’m just trying to be honest right now and tell you exactly what it is because I was in shock and my lawyer, I guess, didn’t do the things the right way to fill out everything. I didn’t, I read the first page. I signed it. I know I sw-. You told me that everything is accurate and I did say yes it is, but it, it wasn’t I guess. It, it wasn’t done right.

Trustee: Well, okay so I’m not, I don’t give you legal advice. But I can tell you that it’s ultimately your responsibility to prepare the papers and it’s ultimately your responsibility to provide accurate testimony in connection with this bankruptcy case.
Tarverdyan: I, I understand.

Trustee: The, how often do you go to the gym?
Tarverdyan: I go to the gym, you know, I’m there let’s say depending on what time, if I’m in training camp sometimes, you know, many, many years I went three times a week there, three times a week to Wild Card because I used to take my fighters to sparring sessions so, you know, I’m usually active every day in the gym but I’m not there every day unless I have a training camp with a specific fighter.

Trustee: And you discussed, who, who actually does the day-to-day management of the gym? The scheduling…
Tarverdyan: There’s a front desk. Christine. Christine, her name is. Connor, her last name. And then, Sevak always there managing, you know, just putting everything together because he’s been there more longer.

Trustee: Who handles the finances?
Tarverdyan: Diana Avetisyan does.

Trustee: Okay, and who pays the bills?
Tarverdyan: Diana Avetisyan, from the corporation every bill is paid and with my understanding, with what I know.

Trustee: She writes the checks?
Tarverdyan: Yes.

Trustee: She signs the checks?
Tarverdyan: Yes.

Trustee: Where are the bills for the corporation mailed to?
Tarverdyan: Glendale Fighting Club.

Trustee: Is that on Brand Blvd.?
Tarverdyan: Yes.

Trustee: Who, who prepares the tax, does the corporation have an accountant?
Tarverdyan: Yes.

Trustee: Who is the accountant for the corporation?
Tarverdyan: Narek Alumyan.

Trustee: Can you spell that for me?
Tarverdyan: N-A-R-A-K. N-A-R-E-K.

Trustee: N-A-R, let’s start over.
Tarverdyan: N-A-R-E-K.

Trustee: N-A-R-E-K.
Tarverdyan: A-L-U-M-Y-A-N.

Trustee: A-L-U-M.
Tarverdyan: Y-A-N.

Trustee: And where is his office located?
Tarverdyan: It’s in Glendale but I, I don’t know the exact address.

Trustee: And how long has he been the accountant for the corporation?
Tarverdyan: Again, my wife would know better exact dates. I don’t want to say something that I don’t know, but it’s been a few years I think.

Trustee: And does your wife keep the books and records and your property at [Street name redacted by Bloody Elbow] or at the gym or where does she?
Tarverdyan: I don’t know, exactly. I, honestly, I just go to the gym and train fighters. I really hate finances. I have, you know, been in financial situations because of 2008 and now that I look at my credit and everything and I’ve had, I haven’t had any credit cards. I haven’t dealt with that and it’s tough to make a living with ten percent, you know, fighters and the gym wasn’t doing good and we’ve had a lot of issues and my wife took over and I really don’t know most of the things that she’s done and I never get involved in it. Honestly, I, I don’t like being situations like, just training fighters.

Trustee: Do you, do you ever discuss the finances of the gym with her?
Tarverdyan: No.

Trustee: Does she ever say, wow, the gym is doing terrible, we can barely pay the bills or the gym is…
Tarverdyan: Yeah, I know it’s never doing that well so. But, you know, it’s, it’s, I’m happy when I’m just at the gym training fighters. That’s where I’m happy at.

Trustee: Now, your bankruptcy. In, in the last hearing when we discussed your day-to-day activ-, and we touched on it a little bit today. You know, you said you go to the gym and you look for fighters to train.
Tarverdyan: I don’t look for fighters. Some fighters come to me, sometimes I look for fighters. Yeah, it depends on the situation.

Trustee: But you said that you’re finding fighters and you get a portion of the purse.
Tarverdyan: Yes.

Trustee: And you described fighters that are, you know, not very experience fighters and the purses are very small.
Tarverdyan: Yeah, there’s actually a, there’s like a little documentary being made. Like we’ve had fighters in the gym that fight, you know, let’s say on a HBO Latino card or a Showbox card and they make fifteen thousand dollars for a main event fight, so ten percent of that is a thousand five hundred, but we have so much expenses. Sparring partners. They never pay gym dues, you know, as a professional athlete, and its. We lose money on situations like that, so. And depending on the fighters. Some fighters come that are established. You know, you could make, they make ten thousand dollars when they’re 16-0, 20-0. These guys are not making more money than that. And then you have fighters that are 1-0, 2-0 which they make a thousand dollars. So it doesn’t even cover your tape expense. You know, you wrap their hands and honestly it doesn’t cover the tape expense. It’s not easy being a trainer.

Trustee: Who is your wife’s employer?
Tarverdyan: My wife’s employer, meaning?

Trustee: Is she employed?
Tarverdyan: Yes.

Trustee: Who, who does she work…
Tarverdyan: Social worker.

Trustee: Okay. You also, to, to put it bluntly, you also train a very high-profile fighter.
Tarverdyan: Yes, I do.

Trustee: Okay. And according to what you’ve put forth in your tax returns and in your bankruptcy schedules, that has not resulted in any income for you?
Tarverdyan: And that’s what I’m saying. With my, I did not know what’s been put. And then so I hired a new attorney and I did read the first page. I wasn’t aware of most of the stuff, and I’m willing to fix it.

Trustee: How much? Let’s, let’s go through your earnings. What, what have your earnings been in 2015?
Tarverdyan: I, I can’t, I can’t say that exact number because my wife would know better. It’s a corporation and every fighter that comes to the gym we have more expenses on different coaches. With the high profile fighter you’re saying we have three other trainers, two trainers from my gym just on that which is GFC Fitness (unintelligible) that gym also we have two other trainers working on that fighter so…
Tarverdyan’s attorney: Mr.Trustee, as a point of clarification, all of the payments from the fighters go to the corporation.
Tarverdyan: Yes.

Tarverdyan’s attorney: Mr. Tarverdyan, the debtor himself, has never received income or any kind of payments directly from any of these fights or the trainers…
Tarverdyan: Yes.
Tarverdyan’s attorney: …from the best that I’ve come to understand the structure. So all payouts go to the corporation.

Trustee: Is his wife going to cooperate and provide books and records for the corporation or are we going to have to do that by 2004 examination?
Tarverdyan’s attorney: I think we should be able to get cooperation.

Trustee: Because, yeah, there’s obviously real community property issues…
Tarverdyan’s attorney: Absolutely.

Trustee: … with how this has been…
Tarverdyan’s attorney: Absolutely.

Trustee: …with how this has been setup. Now, how many fighters are you currently training, actively training?
Tarverdyan: Currently, right now, one fighter.

Trustee: And who is that?
Tarverdyan: Travis Browne.

Trustee: Do you know what the fight-
Tarverdyan: I actually have another fighter, I’m sorry, a boxer, too. Arif Magomedov.

Trustee: Now Travis Brown. Who, when, when, when a fighter. And are you currently training Ronda Rousey?
Tarverdyan: Currently, yes, but she doesn’t have a fight. So when they have a training camp, you asked me currently meaning who am I training right now. But how many fighters I’ve trained. I’ve trained maybe over a dozen good fighters.

Trustee: Okay, now, for Ronda Rousey you’ve trained her what, about a dozen fights or so?
Tarverdyan: Yes.

Trustee: When she wants to train with you, are you contacted by a business manager?
Tarverdyan: No, no. We’ve always, I started her career and there’s a book written out there too. And until her eight, nine fights she never made any money. And that she did thirty, forty thousand, whatever it was, I never even took the ten percent. Because I was kind enough just, you know, it’s okay, I’m just at the gym. I’m surviving and she fights for a living. I’m not going to take ten percent of that. So as it went, you know, she made more money, and the corporation gets the money. And we hired more trainers at the gym meaning Martin Berberyan, three-time Olympian. He gets paid from that purse also, he’s a three-time Olympian. He’s Ronda’s corner also, all the time. He’s always there and he’s been there from the get-go. So everybody gets paid from that corporation.

Trustee: Who makes the payments to the corporation?
Tarverdyan: Who makes the payments…

Trustee: Yes.
Tarverdyan: …meaning from the fighters? The fighters do.

Trustee: On behalf of the fighters.
Tarverdyan: The fighters might have a corporation. The fighters might have a manager. Sometimes there’s situations that, you know, depending on the fighter they might make only ten thousand dollars so you ask for the thousand dollars, ten percent, at the beginning instead of waiting for that thousand dollars to come in after the fight. There’s no set contract between a fighter and a trainer so sometimes it’s, you ask for it before so you won’t have, try to chase the fighter and, hey, you didn’t make payments and, you know, nobody comes through on, especially when there’s any type of situations and sometimes, you know, they win, sometimes they lose and it’s, it’s a tough business.

Trustee: How much do you estimate you’ve received or will receive from training Ronda Rousey in 2015?
Tarverdyan: It’s in, it’s in the, it’s in the six-figure mark.

Trustee: When you say in the six figures, that could be a, that could be a range?
Tarverdyan: That could be a range. You know, I think like if we go the two fights we’ve had back, I think it was approximately around two to three hundred thousand all combined because there’s situations with a lot of details with pay-per-view buyers and different, different situations so depending on the fight. I can’t be that accurate with you right now. I don’t know anything else so.

Trustee: Are funds still coming in from the last fight?
Tarverdyan: No, we have not spoken about any funds or anything because we’ve had a tough loss (unintelligible) the situations (unintelligible) been spoken about, actually. And it’s gonna be of my willingness and what I want to do with the situation also because I think I’m a fair person and, and, it’s. I just want to train fighters. It really doesn’t…

Trustee: But what, what, what was the agreement going into the fight?
Tarverdyan: We never had a set agreement. You know, I mean there’s, there’s never been a set agreement, there, there’s never a contract. It’s, you know, always been fair and what we’ve always been doing so, you know, it could be the same situation. But again, it’s gonna be my willingness, what I really want to do in this situation. I’ve had fights that my fighters have lost and I’ve never taken a penny.

Trustee: What has been your custom and practice?
Tarverdyan: Ten percent, ten percent. We’ve, I’ve covered that, sir.

Trustee: Who would you typically ha-, when you make, when you have these discussions, is it with the fighter directly? Is it with the fighter’s business manager?
Tarverdyan: It depends on the situation. Depends on what fighter. Like I said, sir, there’s fighters that have like 10-0 records. They come and they hire you as a trainer. And those fighters are making, somebody with 10-0 won’t make more than two, three thousand dollars, you know, in a boxing match. And some of them, you know, in MMA they get higher and it depends. Some of them, the managers approach you. Is it okay, you want to work with my fighter, meaning that they have a manager. But some don’t, some are free agents and it depends on the, the fighter, the situation.

Trustee: In this instance, when the time to discuss finances from this last fight comes about, who will you have that discussion with? Will it be with the fighter? Will it be with the business manager? Will it be…
Tarverdyan: Absolutely with the fighter.

Trustee: What is your current financial arrangements with Travis Browne?
Tarverdyan: Travis Browne, it’s ten percent, same thing.

Trustee: Is he scheduled to fight right now?
Tarverdyan: January 16th, sir.

Trustee: Is there a purse for that fight? Do you know what the purse is?
Tarverdyan: Yes, the purse is. I, I know there’s a set purse and the purse is a hundred thousand dollars, I think. But, I don’t know if it’s, they would be happy with all these information being given. Am I allowed to? If I’m allowed to, I will. I don’t know. Because I think there’s a person over there sitting there trying to write some stuff. I don’t, I don’t think it’s fair for him to have these numbers.

Trustee: Well this, this, again, as your attorney will tell you, this is a, you know, a public, this is a public proceeding.
Tarverdyan: Oh, okay. Alright. I, I, I don’t know exact numbers. I’d rather say I don’t know exact numbers because (unintelligible).

Trustee: The property on [Street name redacted by Bloody Elbow], that is in your wife’s name as well?
Tarverdyan: No.

Trustee: Oh, that’s in her father’s name?
Tarverdyan: Yes, yes.

Trustee: Do you and your wife own or have any other interest in real estate?
Tarverdyan: No.

Trustee: Does the GFC fight club, does it own any other assets besides the physical club itself?
Tarverdyan: No, sir.
Tarverdyan’s attorney: It doesn’t own the real estate.

Trustee: No, that I. Yeah. No that, that, that I know. Does, do you have any sponsorship arrangements?
Tarverdyan: Sponsorship, the gym does, yes.

Trustee: Who are, who are the gym’s sponsors?
Tarverdyan: Just one new sponsor. It’s from Monster and it just started a contract. Monster Energy Drink.

Trustee: And what are the financial terms of that contract?
Tarverdyan: Just a monthly fee.

Trustee: Approximately how much per month?
Tarverdyan: 2K, two thousand.

Trustee: Do you have any benefit of the f-, do you receive any indirect or direct benefit of the sponsorships that your fighters might have?
Tarverdyan: Never.

Trustee: Do you have a vehicle?
Tarverdyan: Yes (unintelligible) currently, no. The house does but…

Trustee: When you say the house does?
Tarverdyan: My, my wife does, but…

Trustee: What kind of vehicle does your wife have?
Tarverdyan: She drives a Nissan.

Trustee: There was a news report that you have a Range Rover?
Tarverdyan: And that, they didn’t write it accurately. It’s not my Range Rover. It was Platinum Motor Sports. They’re my friends. And they always help Ronda like, you know, because she got gift from the UFC and they helped her fix the car and they gave me a lender to drive and it was only for a month and it never had a, because that’s the car that I want, yeah, it was on Fox Sports, that one. It’s, it’s not my car. I gave it back. Those news report, a lot of them don’t write things accurate so [laughs].

Trustee: Well hopefully your, you know, what matters is your testimony.
Tarverdyan: Yeah, absolutely, and I’m not here to say anything that’s gonna be against me cause I’m not here to say anything that didn’t happen. All these happened in 2008 and it’s just a, it all became a mess and I don’t know what to do with it.
Tarverdyan’s attorney: Mr. Trustee, to address that issue, the debtor and I have started working together recently. There are significant errors in the petition. And from the amount of debt to the type of debt to the most simple information that’s incorrect so we will be amending a significant portion of the petition to make sure that it accurately reflects the debtor’s situation. And one thing that should be pointed out is the dates listed for the debts on Schedule F are entirely erroneous. I think a simple credit dump was done without verifying the dates, and from all of the testimony I’ve gotten thus far over the last week it seems like the unsecured debt, the total amount is closer to half the total amount listed, number one. And number two, that there have been no unsecured debts incurred after 2008, whereas the dates incurred on Schedule F have much more recent dates. So that’s obviously the most glaring error, but there are significant others that we will work very hard to correct over the coming weeks.

Trustee: Yeah, so let’s spend, let’s just finish up we’re talking about the debts since you brought that up. You, you, you know what’s listed in the papers, it says seven hundred and twenty-two thousand dollars.
Tarverdyan: Yeah.

Trustee: What do you believe the, you don’t believe that’s correct…
Tarverdyan: No, it’s not correct. And I asked my lawyer, you know, after I (unintelligible) what, what could it be? I guess what happens is they sell the debts from one to another and that’s what’s listed in the credit report. And, you know, there’s things that have been added two three, two, three of them. And he added it all together but it’s the same debt. He just wrote a number out there that it makes no sense to me and that’s why I was shock when the first time I came I didn’t understand what’s going on. I didn’t think it was a problem because I’ve had financial issues from 2008 and I thought that this is okay for me to file bankruptcy and finish everything, all my debts. But I didn’t understand what’s going on.

Trustee: So, so at this point you don’t really know what the correct amount of debt is?
Tarverdyan: My lawyer he would know (unintelligible)…
Tarverdyan’s attorney: Yeah, well you could tell him an estimate. Tell him I’m not sure but, estimate, how much do you think you spent?
Tarverdyan: Three, four hundred. Three, four hundred, maximum. Like, I don’t know.

Trustee: We’re still going to, again, we’re still going to want the documents that were previously requested. We are going to want all the, we’re going to want all the corporate books and records. Tax returns, financial records, governing, governing documents for the corporation. I can send you a…
Tarverdyan: I think all those corporation stuff…
Tarverdyan’s attorney: I’ll get all of them.

Trustee: One of the other th-, last thing is you’ve previously said that you had not filed a tax return for 2013 and 2014, is that right?
Tarverdyan: I think so. My, my wife knows better, honestly.

Trustee: And she’s, and she’s at the [Street name redacted by Bloody Elbow] address?
Tarverdyan: Yes.

Trustee: Alright, we’ll hold the case until December 30th, 2015 at 11am in room, that would be in Room 4. Hopefully though the next, well, maybe we can make some progress with the holidays, maybe we can’t.
Tarverdyan’s attorney: I know I may be out of the country but I’ll, I’ll work with your office to get any information required.
Tarverdyan: I’m here I got a fight. (Unintelligible)

Trustee: You have a fight in January.
Tarverdyan: Yeah, that’s right. I have to be here.

Trustee: Alright, alright, thank you very much.
Tarverdyan: Thank you, sir.

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About the author
Paul Gift
Paul Gift

Dr. Paul Gift is a sports economist with a research focus on mixed martial arts. A licensed MMA referee and judge himself, Dr. Gift’s interests pertain to many facets of the MMA industry including behavioral biases and judging, the role of financial and environmental factors on fighter performance, determination of fighter marginal products, and predictive analytics.

A regular MMA business contributor for Forbes, Dr. Gift also writes about MMA analytics and officiating in popular press for SB Nation and co-hosts the MMA business podcast Show Money. His sports research has been cited in the Wall Street Journal, ESPN’s Grantland, and popular media including Around the Horn, Olbermann, and various MMA and boxing podcasts.

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