Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tara LaRosa Interview

There had been rumors in the women's MMA community of a manager making threats to blackball female fighters and keep them from fighting in big promotions as well as other rumors. While many knew the name of that manager, no one wanted to go public. Finally Tara LaRosa did go public and named Brett Atchley and it became a firestorm of talk. Amateur fighter Alyssa Vasquez came forward and did an interview for PRO WMMA Now talking of her issues with Atchley and it got more talking going on. Thus far Atchley has denied any wrongdoing. I was able to talk with Tara and get her story of what happened.

Q: You said on Facebook that Brett Atchley tried something with you at an Invicta's he tried something with you and then again at a Seattle airport. Can you give your side of what happened?
A: When I came down from my room to the elevator and then the lobby, there were several people standing there, Brett being one of them. I don't particularly remember who else was standing there. He grabbed a hold of my sweatshirt and my wrist and said "oh, were are all your sponsors at? What a great manager you must have." Referring to Monte Cox, my manager. I was starting to say something nasty, but my coach at the time Ivan Salaverry pulled me away and took me to the door. That was that incident. After the show ended, Brett had been on my flight, I didn't realize it. I was grabbing my stuff and walking through the airport. He comes up next to me and grabs my bags and tries to take them from me as if he is gonna help me carry them and shoot the shit. I flipped out and said "get away from me, I don't need your help." That caused a commotion. Nobody was down there , I am sure security cameras caught it. He stormed off. That is that.

Q: Had you had contact with him before that?
A: Yeah, I met him at RFA. A show I fought on on march 20th in Nebraska. He had Jessamyn Duke, Elaina Maxwell and Maurice Smith on that show. Jessamyn was patched up like Nascar, she had so many sponsors. I asked how much she was getting for that. Brett said seven or eight thousand. I said "that's crazy, I have been fighting for eleven years and never came close to that much." It seemed like bullshit to me, I didn't take him seriously. For him to say that stuff to me, it doesn't make me want to sign with you and be one of your girls, I know better. Shit like that is usually false. Later on after the show, several months later, I was hanging out with Jess at Invicta and asked "how much did you get for that show? He said you got seven or eight thousand." She said she never got any money.

Q: Some people have said he threatened to blackball them and keep them off shows like Invicta, did he try that with you?
A: Yes he did. When he had the falling out with Ivan Salaverry and Ivan kicked him out of the gym. I have the messages he sent Ivan that say "none of your girls will ever fight for Invicta or Strikeforce, I had them blackballed." Ivan showed that to me. I sent it to Monte Cox and Monte got everything straightened out.

Q: You said he called Monte and threatened to sure you if you talked, what was your reaction to that?
A: I laughed. He called Monte this afternoon and said "I don't know what Tara's problem is but she is saying some stuff that is not true and if she continues to say it I will take legal action against her. maybe you can get her to stop talking." Monte lit into him. He said "Brett if you said some stuff that happens to be true, you can't sue Tara because it's true, it's not slander. Tara is not gonna let this go. When she gets on something, she is persistent. Me talking to her is not gonna do much." Monte was basically just laughing at him.

Q: There has been rumors and girls saying stuff off the record, why did you decide to put his name out there?
A: Because this was the third time I had read these big serious posts in this private forum that is for us, that warns us of dangers in the sport, of people with bad practices or shady people. It has been posted several times and and I know several other people who have been affected. I figured after the stuff last summer that "this guy is an idiot, he is not gonna persist." He is still around and still doing bad stuff, worse stuff than I even knew about. I had it. I am hearing the names of people he does it to, these girls are brand new, they wont do anything, they are serious about the sport and don't wanna jeopardize what they can be. They don't realize Brett Atchley is not anything. Everyone is afraid to speak out and he has threatened them that he will expose them and that people wont put him on cards. That is complete bullshit. He is scaring people saying "I am friends with Shannon Knapp, Janet Martin or Sean Shelby." Bullshit, bullshit. He is full of hot air and all about stealing money from people. He does not let the fighter talk to the sponsor, Brett is the middle man, he controls the action. He talks to the sponsor and says "hey, can we get this much money and maybe some gear, maybe a watch." Then he goes to the fighter and says "they are gonna give you a watch worth $2,500." Then if money is involved, Brett keeps the money.

Q: Alyssa Vasquez has come out and shared her story, you are a big name in the sport, do you hope that with you coming out that it will make these girls not afraid to come out and share their story?
A: That is why I came out about it. So people would follow my lead and feel comfortable knowing someone else had come out and I didn't get instantly struck by lightening or blow off on the spot. This shit needs to stop, someone needs to step up and say something. I didn't think what happened to me was the worst of it so didn't think my story was as pertinent. Whatever it is, I hope it helps and does the right things.

Q: You just moved to Albuquerque, how has it been there for you?
A: Wonderful, absolutely wonderful. My life could not be better right now. I am surrounded my amazing coaches who have no problem teaching me, awesome training partners, always people to train with my size and ability, a strength and conditioning coach, do cardio swimming, sand dunes to run on, it is wonderful. There are so many options for training here. Plus we have Greg Jackson, and Coach Winkeljohn, it's incredible.

Q: Anything coming up for you?
A: No, nothing. Just playing it all by ear.

Q: Anything you want to add?
A: No, I think that is all. I hope the girls are listening to me and know it's o.k. to come out and he cant hurt you. He cant get to you, there is nothing he can do to you, just tell exactly what happened. Even if it the most mundane instances, they matter, just tell what happened. It doesn't have to be some crazy wild story, just tell your story, get it out there so he cant do this to other people.

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