The sexual assault lawsuit levied against Roberto ‘Cyborg’ Abreu and Fight Sports has now come to an end, as a summary judgement has now been issued in their favor. Both Abreu and his affiliation were the defendants in a lawsuit that began back in 2021, alleging that they mishandled sexual assault claims. While that was the first time that attempts were made to hold Fight Sports and the higher levels of management within the organization somewhat responsible for the incident, it was not the first time that details of it had emerged. It all stemmed from an incident where BJJ black belt and Fight Sports affiliate instructor Marcel Goncalves allegedly engaged in a sexual relationship with an anonymous 16 year-old student of his in late 2017.
Goncalves was in his mid-30s at the time and the abuse allegedly took place every weekend over the course of months, often in the premises of Fight Sports Naples. As the affiliation’s founder, Abreu did issue a statement and stripped Goncalves of his black belt under him following the sexual assault allegations. Although his responses to the incident were met with plenty of criticism, the subsequent lawsuit claiming that Roberto ‘Cyborg’ Abreu and Fight Sports mishandled the sexual assault claims did not begin until later. One of the biggest elements of the lawsuit was that it alleged that Abreu had prior knowledge of sexual misconduct and failed to take action, creating an environment where the subsequent sexual assault was possible.
After the deadlines in the case were extended initially, Judge Jose Rodriguez of the Miami-Dade Circuit Court issued an order that granted the defendants’ motion for final summary judgment on June 17th, 2023. This effectively ruling in favor of Abreu and Fight Sports. The plaintiff will still have the opportunity to appeal. The Judge explains in the order that neither Abreu or Fight Sports are liable for Goncalves’ actions because his conduct was not “in the furtherance of the business objectives” of Fight Sports and “the employer did not facilitate the abuse.” It’s important to note that this order has no bearing on a verdict surrounding Goncalves himself, and says nothing about whether or not he committed the assault in question.