Prosecutors dropped rape charges against Albuquerque jiu-jitsu coach and MMA veteran Rafael de Freitas on Friday.
According to a report from the Albuquerque Journal, the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office entered a nolle prosequi in the case against de Freitas, which means it was unwilling to prosecute. De Freitas, who is known as “Barata,” was jailed and charged with third-degree sexual criminal penetration after allegedly drugging and raping a jiu-jitsu student at her home in November 2020.
"While probable cause existed at the time of arrest, additional investigation has revealed that, at this time, there exists an insufficient factual basis to meet the State's burden at trial," court records state.
When the charges were initially filed, prosecutors were denied a motion to detain de Freitas until his trial after attorney Jason Bowles argued that it was a consensual encounter.
"This obviously is a case of what was consensual sex with a female who has changed her mind, or perhaps she set up Mr. de Freitas to begin with, because of a motive to hurt and destroy him which is now well known,” Bowles wrote.
Bowles Law Firm also released a statement on de Freitas’ behalf admitting that he made a transgression in his marriage but denying his guilt of any type of sexual assault.
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.”
After his arrest, De Freitas was removed from the instructor page on the Jackson-Wink MMA website, and spokesman James Hallinan denied that the jiu-jitsu coach was ever an employee of the gym. De Freitas is a primary instructor at Gracie Barra New Mexico Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Albuquerque and was in former UFC champ Holly Holm’s corner for her win over Irene Aldana in Albuquerque this past October.