Former IBJJF world champion Jackson Sousa has now been the subject of an outpouring of sexual harassment allegations from several women in the sport, all stemming from one of his victims coming forward just recently. Samantha Cook is one of the top female BJJ competitors in the UK and in the Checkmat organization, and she made a huge leap when she brought allegations against Sousa in a public forum. Because of her status in the sport, her willingness to come forward opened the floodgates for a huge number of women to support her claim with allegations of their own.
The sheer number of women who’ve now accused Jackson Sousa of sexual harassment shows a very clear pattern of incredibly inappropriate behavior across a number of years. It’s also prompted responses from several different organizations that have previously supported Sousa as an athlete, and they have chosen to cut ties with him. He has been one of the most prolific competitors under the Checkmat banner as a black belt under Ricardo Vieira, but they have now suspended him fully and reiterated a zero-tolerance policy towards all forms of harassment.
Sousa was also originally sponsored by one of the most successful gi manufacturers around, Shoyoroll, and they have also decided to immediately sever ties with him. The Grapple Club also had several of Sousa’s instructionals available for sale on their site and have made the decision to remove each and every one. Sadly, this is nowhere near the first time that the BJJ community has been rocked by sexual assault or harassment allegations and it probably won’t be the last, but it’s at least encouraging to see the organizations involved taking swift action when allegations surface.