Roberto ‘Cyborg’ Abreu is one of the most impressive BJJ competitors in the history of the sport and continues to succeed at the highest levels, but he is now being sued for mishandling sexual assault claims that came to light within his affiliation, Fight Sports. The lawsuit stems from a former Fight Sports black belt and instructor, Marcel Goncalves, who allegedly abused one of his young students. A criminal case has already been brought against Goncalves and after initially intending to rely on a defense of insanity, he quickly fled and has not been able to be located since.
The lawsuit alleges that Goncalves began abusing the plaintiff in late 2017, when the she was 16-years old and Goncalves was in his 30s. At the time, Goncalves was the her BJJ instructor, and the lawsuit alleges he used this position of power to continue to abuse her every weekend for a period of months. According to the lawsuit, Goncalves pressured her to remain silent about the abuse, telling the plaintiff “it would ruin her life and that it would also ruin Goncalves’s son’s life if she told anyone.”
The lawsuit further alleges that Goncalves’ abuse frequently took place at Fight Sports Naples, where Goncalves formerly instructed:
“Among the places Plaintiff was abused at the Naples gym were the main room, the back training room, the bathroom, the closet, and also in Goncalves’s car in Naples, Florida and on several occasions in his car on trips to Miami, Florida,”
Since the situation came to light, Roberto ‘Cyborg’ Abreu has been put under intense scrutiny and he’s even responded to the allegations by releasing an official statement but it’s still surprising to hear that he’s being sued as part of it. Now that Cyborg has been brought into this directly, the case has gained even more attention and has even been reported on in more mainstream media outlets like the Miami New Times. According to the suit:
“The harm Plaintiff suffered resulted from Fight Sports’ failure to properly oversee its trainers and instructors and its failures to properly care for vulnerable minors training at Fight Sports’ gyms. At the very least, Fight Sports had the power to implement safety mechanisms, policies, and measures to protect minors from abuse, yet they failed to do so, allowing the abuse to continue.”