Earlier this week, ADCC head organizer Mo Jassim caused a stir in the jiu-jitsu community by accusing Fight Sports leader Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu of mishandling the situation involving Fight Sports black belt Marcel Goncalves. Details on those allegations can be found here. In short, in 2018, Goncalves was arrested and charged with sexual assault against a teenage student at a Fight Sports affiliate; Jassim accused Abreu (as well as Vagner Rocha) of continuing to associate with Goncalves at his academy, and demanding that Goncalves’ business partner pay Goncalves $35,000 to keep using the Fight Sports name.
On Friday, Abreu issued a statement regarding the situation, Goncalves, and what changes he plans to implement in light of the troubling allegations leveled against Goncalves and Abreu.
“To the victims and their families, I am sorry for my poor handling, ill prepardness (sic) and lack of proper leadership to address the horrible experience they had to go through. I have reached out privately and directly to each victim, to apologize in depth for my shortcomings and to establish a line of communication with them, to inform them of the actions I am taking personally and to learn from this and do better,” Abreu wrote.
“I failed to lead and enact harsher policy that can prevent this from happening. These shortcomings in my handling of these sort of situations ends today. That is why, having listened and learned from this, I have decided to implement, effective immediately a ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY for all sexual abuse or sexual misconduct related incidents within our gyms.”
Abreu explains that Fight Sports will now have a hotline and a “sexual misconduct review board” to address any allegations of sexual misconduct at any Fight Sports academy.
“Anyone accused will be temporarily removed until an investigation determines the facts and if found guilty by our investigation or by authorities, this person shall lose their affiliation to our team immediately and their belts and ranks will be automatically taken away.”
The review board, says Abreu, is made up of “attorneys, psychologists and law enforcement.”
Abreu also stated that he is stripping Goncalves of his black belt, as well as two other individuals that had been promoted under Abreu.
“As for Marcel Goncalves, I am stripping him of his black belt and have severed all ties between him and our organization.
“Furthermore, I have investigated and become aware of all other reported or alleged incidents of this nature that have occurred in the 19-year history of our team and am stripping two more individuals of the belts I once gave them and banning them for life from all Fight Sports academies worldwide.
“Moving forward, this will be our policy without exceptions.”
Finally, Abreu extended an open invitation to Jassim to discuss these issues with him publicly.