Fight Sports owner Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu has shared the details of an anonymous misconduct reporting system and sexual harassment that he says will be implemented in Fight Sports locations worldwide.
Abreu shared on Instagram that Fight Sports students would have access to independent hotline system Red Flag Reporting, which allows employees and clients to anonymously report misconduct, ethical violations, theft, and safety violations. The hotline service allows the person making the report to choose the level of anonymity they wish to retain throughout the complaint process.
In an email to the Jiu-Jitsu Times, Abreu clarified the use of the reporting system, noting that the investigation of any reports submitted to the hotline will be handled by Fight Sports and law enforcement.
“Our objective by hiring this service is to protect the assets, employees and reputations of our members, while dramatically reducing the costly consequences of unethical activity in our academies. Red Flag Reporting provides the most effective internal control an organization can have (an ethics hotline), empower the most successful mechanism for catching unethical behavior (open channels of communication) and support the most powerful tool for deterring bad actions (a strong tone at the top).
Red Flag Reporting is a conduit of information. The idea is to empower our students to speak-up, anonymously or not, about anything unethical. Red Flag Reporting does not get involved in the investigation of any reported concerns, that is left to Fight Sports and authorities to handle.
They do however ensure that a record is registered and kept of anything that is reported in perpetuity. Effectively eliminating any excuse for not knowing or not acting diligently.
For that, case reports from Red Flag Reporting will be sent directly to the top, meaning that if there is an issue, Roberto Abreu, Margaret Grindatti and the 3 members of our Conduct Review Board will be notified within minutes of an incident being reported.
One of the things that is nice about Red Flag Reporting is that they tell the person filing the report who the report is being sent to. That way, the person can even prevent a designated recipient from getting the report if the report is about that person. For example, if a report was ever about both Roberto or Margaret, only the Conduct Review Board would receive it and not them.
Our attorneys are currently helping us design and establish the policies for promptly and adequately addressing all case reports received by our board from the Red Flag Reporting platform. It is our policy that any illegal or criminal activity should be reported immediately to the authorities along with any evidence provided in the report.”
Also sent to the Jiu-Jitsu Times from Abreu is a statement, dated September 20, 2021, detailing the reporting process:
Visit www.RedFlagReporting.com and click on “File a Report”
• The client code is: fightsports (one word)
• Call 1-877-647-3335
• Text RFR to 234-231-9005
• You may also use the following (be sure to be detail oriented, provide our client
code, and indicate if you wish to be anonymous our [sic] not):
o Fax to 330-572-8146
o Email to firstname.lastname@example.org
o Mail to RFR, P.O. Box 4230, Akron, Ohio 44321
Abreu also announced that Fight Sports has entered a three-year contract with BMD Gateway for sexual harassment prevention training and discrimination prevention training, which he says will be mandatory for all Fight Sports employees and contractors. In the email to the Jiu-Jitsu Times, Abreu said that training for the staff at Fight Sports Miami will begin next week; staff at all of the other Fight Sports affiliations around the world are expected to undergo the training in about two weeks. Abreu also noted that every coach and staff member will have to be recertified annually through the program.
Background checks are also planned for all affiliated Fights Sports staff, per Abreu, and the company is also “taking a close look” at implementing background checks for prospective new students. Abreu says that people who have been convicted of a felony “and or child abuse” will not be accepted as new students. “Some in our community believe this practice can be detrimental for the purpose of adding new students, but we believe that it can produce the opposite effect and actually serve to attract more customers,” he said in the email.
The announcement comes a month and a half after Abreu and Fight Sports black belt coach Vagner Rocha acknowledged that they continued to interact with Marcel Goncalves following Goncalves’ 2018 arrest. Goncalves was charged with felony sexual assault and admitted to having a sexual relationship with a sixteen-year-old jiu-jitsu student at the time of his arrest. Since then, multiple other alleged victims have come forward with accusations connected to Fight Sports.
Abreu first announced a “zero-tolerance policy” for sexual harassment and abuse in the wake of the Jiu-Jitsu Times article and public outcry regarding his and Rocha’s interactions with Goncalves. He also announced that he would be stripping Goncalves, Rodrigo Oliveira da Costa, and Tony Harris of their black belts and banning them from Fight Sports locations for life.
The Jiu-Jitsu Times will continue to provide updates on this situation as they become available.