White Belt Sues Coach For Injuries Sustained During Competition

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Not a joke headline.

A Canadian white belt is suing his coach for injuries sustained during his first grappling competition, saying that he was put into the wrong weight class and was not adequately trained in stand-up before facing an opponent who tore his meniscus. CBC News reports that the student trained at longtime black belt Marcus Soares’ gym in Vancouver, and was competing at the WBJJF-sanctioned Marcus Soares Invitational when he was injured.

Yes, still a real news story.

According to a civil claim filed in British Columbia, Joe Peters had been training at Soares’ gym for about 8-9 months prior to entering the competition. He signed two waivers of liability at the start of his gym membership, which covered injury related to training at the gym. The suit has been allowed to proceed in spite of the signed waivers because Peters’ lawyer argues the waivers did not cover the competition, and because coaches were negligent in preparing Peters for tournament combat.

Peters, who was 36 at the time of injury, claims he was given “no stand-up training” in the months prior to his sub-only competition debut. The 246lb. grappler also states he was not warned he would compete with fighters out of his weight class, citing a match-up with a 290lb. opponent.

Soares’ asserts that Peters opted to not attend stand-up competition training sessions despite knowing he would be expected to start his tournament matches on the feet, and that the student had put in 80 hours of mat time before entering. He also says that fighting up a weight class was optional, and Peters was not forced to do so. Soares states that Peters did not appear to be injured at the tournament where the injury allegedly took place.

Peters received knee surgery for the torn meniscus. He is seeking damages for pain and suffering, lost wages, and future capacity to earn wages. You can listen to his lawyer in an interview embedded into this post right here.

Soares is an eighth degree black belt under Carlson Gracie directly. He has been teaching and training for over 45 years, and has two gym locations.


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