Andrew Wiltse Talks Fight Sports Sexual Misconduct: ‘Their situation is pretty inexcusable’

Elite black belt competitor Andrew Wiltse isn’t shy about sharing his opinions. It comes as no surprise, then, that Wiltse has plenty to say about the situation involving Marcel Goncalves’ pending sexual assault case and how it has been handled by Fight Sports owner and head coach Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu. Read about that situation here.

In short, Wiltse is not impressed with how Fight Sports and Abreu have responded to the sexual assault allegations against Goncalves. In a recent episode of the BJJ Mental Models podcast, Wiltse explained his perspective.

“They did everything as wrong as you could,” he said.

“I don’t know Vagner [Rocha] and I don’t know [Roberto] Cyborg [Abreu] personally. I’ve met them a few times and in my opinion they seemed like decently moral people, whatever that means. And it is a complicated situation. You start having degrees of removal where people are attacking people that weren’t actually the perpetrator of the crime for not doing more. And you have to be a little bit cautious because they could genuinely think that someone didn’t do something wrong and then you’re like trying to ruin their entire lives because they don’t agree with your interpretation of the situation.

“You could also have the opposite where… that person actually did something that’s clearly blatant and fucked up and you want to have some kind of justice for that. And people are doing the buddy system and just disregarding any evidence that the person did something wrong. And I think the Fight Sports situation is obviously one of those cases because there’s police involved, there’s admittance, there’s smuggling of someone out of the country. Their situation is pretty inexcusable.”

Wiltse’s biggest complaint with Fight Sports is the response to the Goncalves situation. Specifically, Wiltse takes issue with Abreu’s recent statement establishing an internal sexual assault and misconduct hotline to address complaints.

“That’s the worst part about the whole Fight Sports thing,” Wiltse said. “They want to have a hotline where you call them instead of the police. That was a pretty disgusting statement for them to make. Call us and tell us about the rape, don’t call the police, please. No, don’t fucking do that. Call the cops. Call the fucking cops…

“Maybe they’re just such a morally high level person that they’re not gonna fuck it up, but they’re gonna have so much bias that they’re gonna ignore certain things or downplay it or want the situation to go away, and it’s not a good idea. Don’t call the fucking Fight Sports hotline. Don’t do that.”

Wiltse recognizes that people are not perfect and it’s impossible to weed out each and every bad actor. But once that bad actor has been outed, says Wiltse, leadership at the gym must react appropriately and swiftly.

“You as an association owner are not completely responsible for the actions of your students and association members. You don’t know someone is a fucking pedophile rapist until they do it. And then your reactions after the fact say it the most. That is probably the worst reaction you can have: ‘come on, you were obviously hitting on him’ or something, when you’re fucking 16. Your brain isn’t even fully developed. You don’t deserve to bear the brunt of that, even if you were being promiscuous. A thirty year old man is expected to know better.”

Andrew Wiltse is a black belt under Heath Pedigo and represents Pedigo Submission Fighting (AKA Daisy Fresh). He is an elite competitor with recent notable wins over Gabriel Almeida, John Combs, and PJ Barch.

Ben Coate

Ben has been involved with grappling, whether through wrestling or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, essentially his entire life. After wrestling throughout his childhood, Ben found Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a young adult and quickly fell in love. He has been training for over ten years and currently holds the rank of brown belt, and remains involved in both the MMA and BJJ scene. Ben has been writing about combat sports since 2017. He has interviewed and profiled some of MMA's biggest stars, including multiple UFC champions.

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