Cyborg Releases Statement, Announces Implementation Of Zero-Tolerance Policy For Sexual Abuse & Sexual Misconduct

Roberto Abreu

Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu has released a public statement on social media after receiving widespread criticism for his actions following the 2018 arrest of his black belt, Marcel Goncalves.

Goncalves was arrested in March 2018 and charged with felony sexual assault, having been accused of having a sexual relationship with a sixteen-year-old girl. In the police report, Goncalves is said to have admitted to the accusation. He is currently awaiting trial.

Days ago, Abreu and fellow Fight Sports black belt Vagner Rocha responded to reports of their interactions with Goncalves since his arrest. Since then, multiple reports of additional victims claiming sexual misconduct from other instructors under the Fight Sports affiliation have been shared privately with the Jiu-Jitsu Times and publicly on the social media accounts of ADCC head organizer Mo Jassim. The Jiu-Jitsu Times will be looking into these claims individually.

Following widespread criticism, Abreu has now released a public statement announcing the implementation of a “zero-tolerance policy” for sexual abuse and misconduct within Fight Sports gyms. He has also stated that he will be revoking the black belts of Goncalves and two other individuals.

The statement reads as follows:

Any worthwhile conversation starts with listening… amidst attacks to my personal character for a crime I did not commit, I have tried to listen to the criticism of myself and my organization for the poor handling of these situations.

To the victims and their families, I am sorry for my poor handling, ill preparedness [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 short-comings 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.

To all my students, affiliates, coaches and fans worldwide. Honest, caring, good people, who see in Fight Sports a family they can trust; All teams have bad apples. It is sometimes hard to get rid of those bad apples, but I acknowledge we have to do better in doing so.

As a leader I have been expected and asked to answer for actions I did not commit.

And since you have asked me to do better, I am trying to do so by enacting the following policies effective immediately:

We as men have a responsibility to NOT be involved in these sort of situations. The discipline we exhibit on the mats should also be present when it comes to protecting and respecting our female teammates and our kids.

As a leader I have been expected and asked to answer for actions I did not commit.

While no one can answer for someone else’s actions, I unequivocally acknowledge that I was ill prepared to handle this situation and my response was confusing and not drastic enough at best. In trying to protect my godson I drastically failed to address the victim adequately, publicly and swiftly. For this, I am sorry.

I failed to lead and enact harsher policy that can prevent this from happening. These short-comings 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.

What does this mean?

If you are presented with an accusation of having committed any sexual misconduct in the gym, outside the gym, to another student or to anyone else, you will be temporarily suspended while an internal investigation is conducted by our newly appointed “sexual misconduct review board” and by authorities to determine the facts.

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.

We have listened and we have learned.

To make sure that victims of these situations in our gyms are heard and are able to come forward, we have created the “Fight Sports Sexual Misconduct Hotline” – which includes a website and phone number to direct all claims of sexual misconduct within our affiliate teams.

We don’t want to hide behind this crisis but rather become more transparent and more accountable because of it.

Our “sexual misconduct review board” is comprised of attorneys, psychologists and law enforcement, who will be in charge of overseeing and diligently processing any and all claims of sexual misconduct within our organization while extending support and paying close attention to the victims and their families.

This initiative will allow us to properly manage and responsibly address any situation of this nature in the future, creating a safe and legitimate process for alleged victims to come forward and for the perpetrators to be dealt with.

My students need to know this is the last time I will be involved in a situation like this because of their actions. I was ill prepared to handle the situation, but I have learned and I am correcting it by enacting these guidelines to protect all the good people within our team that view Fight Sports as a family and a safe place for them to practice the sport we love.

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 exception.

As for Mo Jassim, ADCC Head Organizer, who is one of the people who has used his platform to shed light on this issue, I would like to say the following:

I do not have anything against you and amidst your criticism I have listened to your narrative and taken note of what I could do better.

If you have any issues with me, I would like to propose we debate it in person and on air in a public platform for everyone to view.

Therefore, I am extending to you an open invitation to sit face to face, and address all your criticism in person, in the hopes of providing our community with a profound conversation on a topic that is not exclusive to one gym, but rather a cultural issue that needs to be dealt with and learned from.

I am a human being in constant growth, with his heart in the right place, who mistakes like any human, but who is constantly striving to be better and do better on and off the mats.

“When a leader mistakes, he acknowledges.”

“When a leader wants to grow, he listens.”

I am looking forward to a journey of listening, learning and enacting change that can help us deal with and eradicate sexual misconduct within the entire sport of jiu-jitsu.

Today we start with our own home and we look forward to working with other teams, organizations and individuals in the necessary pursuit of growth.



The father of Goncalves’ alleged victim has confirmed with the Jiu-Jitsu Times that he and his daughter received the apology referenced in Abreu’s statement.

In response to a comment asking about the two black belts other than Goncalves referenced in the statement, Abreu named Rodrigo Oliveira and Tony Harris, the latter of whom was a coach at Invicta Martial Arts of O’Fallon, Illinois. Harris, 32 at the time of his arrest in 2014, was convicted of felony sexual assault. His victim was 15 at the time, according to a report from Fox 2 Now.

The Jiu-Jitsu Times will provide updates to this situation as they become available.



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