The New York Times Investigates Fight Sports Sexual Assault Allegations

One of the most prominent and respected news sources in the world has turned its attention to the world of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. On Tuesday, the New York Times published an article about Fight Sports, Fight Sports owner Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu, and the various allegations of sexual assault and misconduct related to Fight Sports and Abreu’s handling of those allegations. Read that article here.

In March 2018, Abreu black belt and former Fight Sports affiliate instructor Marcel Goncalves was arrested and charged with multiple counts of sexual assault stemming from allegations that the then 31-year old Goncalves had had intercourse multiple times with a teenage student. Earlier this year, ADCC head organizer Mo Jassim released details of the allegations that he says he obtained from the victim’s father. According to Jassim, Abreu permitted Goncalves to continue to train at Fight Sports after his arrest.

According to The Times, Abreu has reached out to the alleged victim via text to apologize. The victim was dissatisfied with Abreu’s late response, she told The Times.

Additionally, The Times reports that although Abreu has refuted claims that he helped Goncalves flea to Brazil in order to avoid prosecution in the United States, he did admit to recently visiting Brazil where he did encounter Goncalves.

The Times report also investigates two other allegations of sexual assualt. Hind Chaouat says that she was sexually assaulted by a Fight Sports member at a Fight Sports training camp in Bonito, Brazil, in 2016. According to Chaouat, Abreu tried to downplay the assualt and pressured her to drop her allegations.

Moreover, The Times investigates the allegations made by Mandy Schneider, a teenager that says she was raped by Fight Sports instructor Rodrigo da Costa Oliveira in October 2020. Shortly after the assault, Oliveira left the country and Abreu revoked his visa.

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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