Nicholas Meregali is one of the most impressive Jiu-Jitsu competitors of his generation and has amazing potential, but his reputation and legacy suffered at the IBJJF World Championships when his conduct resulted in a disqualification from the tournament. He had already made it through the majority of the event and was set to compete in the final match of both the Ultra-Heavyweight and absolute divisions, against Max Gimenis and Felipe Pena respectively. Both of these matches would’ve been epic battles between elite competitors and the absolute division is generally regarded as the highlight of the entire weekend for spectators, but sadly the true finals were missing from this year’s event.
Nicholas Meregali suffered his disqualification as a result of his conduct during his semi-final match with Victor Hugo where he was on the receiving end of verbal abuse from certain crowd members. In the heat of the moment, Meregali reacted poorly and chose to raise his middle finger to the spectators who were shouting at him. This conduct breached the IBJJF rules and is what led to his disqualification not just from that specific match, but from the entire event. As a result, Victor Hugo went on to compete in the final of the Ultra-Heavyweight division against Max Gimenis and he actually won that match to claim the gold medal in the division.
Because Meregali’s semi-final match in the absolute division had already concluded, he could not be replaced in the final against Felipe Pena and instead there simply was no final match contested at all with Pena awarded the gold medal by default. Pena was arguing for Meregali to be allowed to compete against him at the event and it soon became clear why, when Pena announced his retirement from IBJJF competition after being awarded a gold medal that in a division that ended on a sour note.
Nicholas Meregali released his statement on his disqualification from the IBJJF World Championships in both Portuguese and English in a post to his official Instagram account: