Cyborg Abreu, Fight Sports win summary judgment in sexual assault case

A Miami judge has ruled in favor of Cyborg Abreu and his Fight Sports businesses in a 2021 lawsuit alleging sexual assault.

Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu and his Fight Sports gym and businesses have earned a major victory in the 2021 sexual assault lawsuit filed against them. 

In August of 2021, the broader jiu-jitsu community learned of sexual assault allegations and criminal actions taken against former Fight Sports BJJ instructor Marcel Goncalves. The community also became aware of allegations that Fight Sports founder and top competitor Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu had mishandled the situation involving Goncalves by attempting to silence his victim and harbor Goncalves after his arrest.

In December 2021, Goncalves, Abreu, and Fight Sports were named defendants in a lawsuit filed in the Miami-Dade Circuit Court. The complaint, in that case, alleged that Goncalves began abusing the anonymous plaintiff in late 2017 when the plaintiff was 16 years old and Goncalves was in his 30s. At the time, Goncalves was the plaintiff’s jiu-jitsu instructor, and the lawsuit alleged he used this position of power to continue to abuse the plaintiff for months, “every weekend.”

Abreu has since stripped Goncalves of his black belt and distanced himself from his former student.

The lawsuit implicated Abreu for his alleged mishandling of the sexual abuse and alleged that Abreu had prior knowledge of sexual misconduct. The plaintiff further stated that by failing to take action to curb such behavior, Abreu created a culture at Fight Sports that allowed sexual abuse to take place.

On June 17, Judge Jose Rodriguez of the Miami-Dade Circuit Court issued an order granting the defendants’ motion for final summary judgment, effectively ruling in favor of Abreu and Fight Sports. The plaintiff will still have the opportunity to appeal.

View that order below.

In the short, two-page order, Judge Rodriguez explains that Abreu and Fight Sports are not liable for the actions of Goncalves because, even though he was employed by Fight Sports, his conduct was not “in the furtherance of the business objectives” of Fight Sports and “the employer did not facilitate the abuse.”

The order only applies to Abreu and his Fight Sports businesses; it does not absolve Goncalves of any liability. Goncalves, though, has been entirely absent from any of the proceedings.

Abreu is slated to compete against Nicholas Meregali on June 29 at the UFC Fight Pass Invitational 4.

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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