will and wladamir

Will Ribeiro Cries For Help, Black House Turns Back on Injured Fighter

James Ryan

Update: November 23, 2010

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After speaking directly with Ed Soares from Black House MMA, I am now able to better understand the complicated situation that currently exists between Will Ribeiro and his former management team…sort of.

In hindsight, I do apologize to Black House for not attempting to speak with them sooner, although frankly, after a bit more investigation into this situation and fact checking on statements provided by Ed Soares (only available in my new book Desolate Warrior), I am not entirely convinced that “Black House” has been completely forthcoming when it comes to the details about Will or the strained relationship with his brother, Wladimir Alves.

You will see from the brief conversation that I had with Will (previous article, listed below) that he is still obviously holding on to a lot of resentment and unresolved personal pain, which is completely understandable when you consider everything that Will has been through over the past two years, specifically the fact that all of his so-called “friends” and managers all abandoned him without any prior warning or explanation.

Just a cruel wall of silence.

I sincerely hope that Will can get the help that he needs, which was the intended purpose of the initial article to begin with—to help Will, and to help spread awareness of his difficult, yet inspiring story.

Since the day that this article had originally been published, Will has received a great deal of support from MMA fans through social media, and I sincerely hope that that continues.

In the meantime, just to be perfectly clear, I do not feel that the ownership of Black House hold any “legal” responsibility to help Will, but from a “moral” standpoint, it is now painfully clear that Will’s managers and friends did as little as possible in their efforts to help Will during the initial (and later) stages of his injuries, and that includes moral support. They can say and blame whatever or whoever they want, the reality is that Black House turned their backs on a member of their team. Over money.

It is unfortunate that personal complications and mutual resentment between Will (and his brother), and Black House have now brought this situation to a point of no return.

In the end, Will is the only one who is truly suffering. Everyone else needs to get past themselves for a moment and remember that a “family member” (that’s what Black House likes to refer to themselves as) is in pain.

Isn’t Will’s recovery more important than the hurt feelings or egos of a few?

For those of you lucky enough to have ever met or spoke to Will, I think that you can all agree that he is a very nice person who deserves the best life possible under his current circumstances.

Will is a true warrior who possesses a never quit attitude in the face of all adversity. He still has much to contribute to society, and that makes him a modern day hero in the eyes of many who continue to pull strength and courage from Will’s precarious position in life.

I have personally been through many challenges in my life as well, but in retrospect, after seeing what Will has had to go through, my life has been very easy by comparison. Never again will I complain about such minor things in my life, as knowing Will has definitely made me a much stronger, and less selfish person.

Every time that I feel like giving up or feeling sorry for myself, I will think of Will’s strength and feel ashamed for ever doubting in my abilities to persevere through the hard times.

Will can become an inspiration to many others in this life as well, but first, he must get the treatments that he badly needs. And I’m not just talking about the physical. Can you imagine even for a moment how difficult and stressful this has all been on Will, and what toll this has taken on him emotionally? It is apparent that depression and sadness have now crept into his life.

No doubt, some of you reading this, can relate to those feelings.

Will needs our help. The only thing worse than going through what Will has had go through is that he has been forced to go through so much of this without the moral support of those that he once thought of as “brothers.”

This might sound like a terrible thing to say, but I have known people who have killed themselves under better circumstances than what Will is having to go though now, and because of this, I am afraid for Will, and I am afraid that the proud behaviour of others will ultimately become too much for him.

Then again, maybe that was their hope?

My reasons for helping Will are simple:

“I want to lead an important life. I want to do it because I was born a human being.” – Miyamoto Musashi

I had also hoped that by virtue of being martial artists (which Ed Soares is most definitely not), that all of Will’s former friends would eventually wake up and recognize what they have been doing to him, and correct the situation by any means possible, thus restoring the name of their famous fighting team.

This all seems very unlikely however, considering that Black House is completely unwilling to take any responsibility or show any sort of compassion towards Will.

“He’s not entitled to any help.” – Ed Soares

“I didn’t make a single dollar off of Will. What obligation do we have to Will?” – Ed Soares

“I’m a Kennedy in this world of MMA, bro.” – Ed Soares

“They talked all this shit. Whatever, man. You know what we have? We have our health, and we have everything, and we don’t have to worry about that.” – Ed Soares

“Go fuck yourself, man! You know? That’s how I really feel.” – Ed Soares

Clearly, in this entire situation, I am only an observer, and only those willing to help Will can decide how his fate should end.

I hope for Will’s sake, my vision of a better life can come true.

Thank you for your time.

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Original Article

For those of you who might not already know, WEC bantamweight fighter, Will Ribeiro (MMA record 9-2), is still making progress as he attempts to battle back from a life-threatening motorcycle accident, dating back to December 2008.

Ribeiro was critically injured while riding on the back of a motorcycle on rain-slick roads without a helmet. He was in a comatose state for 29 days and lost vision in one eye. Doctors gave Ribeiro a 50/50 chance of ever waking up.

And he did.

Until recently however, Ribeiro has basically been out of sight and out of mind to many MMA fans.

Some may never even have heard of him.

Until one day…

I was checking the daily news feed on Facebook, when I suddenly took notice of a message that Ribeiro had been pasting onto dozen’s of different Facebook walls.

It read (JR revision):

“I am Will Ribeiro. I fought in the WEC event against Brian Bowles and Chase Beebe. After fighting in the United States, I returned to Brazil and suffered a motorcycle accident.

“Half of my body is partially paralyzed. I am not able to work at this very moment, and my business managers Jorge Guimarães and Ed Soares are no longer helping me.

“I need help urgently!

“Wanderlei Silva gave me one of his fight shorts for Auction in the United States to help me with my rehab. Michael Costa and Wanderlei will try to make the campaign to help me. Wanderlei is a very nice guy.

“I have no mother or father. Only my brother takes care of me. Thank you very much to heart.”

Honestly, I didn’t know what to make of this at first, so I decided to reach out directly to Ribeiro, but due to his injuries and lack of English, our conversation was kept short.

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James Ryan: Hi Will, I understand you need help.

Will Ribeiro: Thank you for your feedback, James. I’m glad someone heard my call for help.

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James Ryan: First of all, I am very sorry to hear about your continued suffering. I really admire your courage, and I am glad that you have been recovering from your injuries, albeit, very slowly.

Will Ribeiro: Thank you. It has been hard but I am not giving up.

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James Ryan: As a suggestion, have you thought about selling the Wanderlei Silva shorts on eBay?

Will Ribeiro: Not yet. My brother told me that Wanderlei would have more of a chance, because I am an international athlete and fought in the WEC in the United States.

I do not speak English. I use the Google Translator to be able to talk with you. What can you do for me? I thank you from my heart.

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James Ryan: I love the Google Translator. Ever since I started writing for El Octagono (Spanish only) and expanding my fan-base down into Brazil (Portuguese), I have used it quite a bit.

What can I do to help?

I have been asking myself that very question, Will.

I spoke with Denis Martins, a UFC writer from Brazil and he suggested that I should first contact the co-founder of the WEC, Reed Harris, and then collaborate something with all sides involved.

Denis also said that you were a good kid.

I think the best way that I can help you is to help spread your message—and I will.

Will Ribeiro: Thank you, James.

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It is at this time that I would like to ask all of the readers to please watch the attached video. Yes, it is sad to watch, but it’s also incredibly inspiring when you consider everything that Will has been through.

This is a young fighter who wasn’t probably supposed to live, let alone walk again.


This video is dated May 9, 2010. After over two years, the shorts finally sold for very little money.

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Will goes to physiotherapy treatment and has recently been acting as an arbitrator in MMA, an activity that keeps him close to the sport that he loves.

More great news is that Will has been invited to eventually teach boxing in Rio de Janeiro’s BOPE. The invitation was made by Captain Ivan Blas, who sees Will as an excellent instructor for the military police.

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UPDATE NOVEMBER 19, 2010

Amazingly, Will has no brain damage. He can think and speak just as he could before the accident. When you think about it, it’s really quite remarkable. I really think that it was his physical condition that saved his life. He was an absolutely amazing athlete.

Where Will struggles the most and needs help is with his physical therapy and emotional rehabilitation. He is obviously quite affected by his new life. Right now, he is not receiving any treatments for either, and in times of great emotional stress, he suffers from terrible convulsions. They have no money and no support and therefore, Will is still unable to to get the help that he needs.

If anyone would like to make a badly needed donation, you can send money through PayPal directly to his brother’s email (wlad1@yahoo.com.br).

Thanks to everyone and PLEASE, spread this message!!!!! The entire MMA Community needs to know about Will and his struggle to survive.

Thank you


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Mr. James Ryan
Freelance Mixed Martial Arts Sportswriter
www.mrjamesryan.com

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James Ryan
James Ryan

30 Comments

  1. Chris Grant

    I can definitely relate, altho training MMA was my hobby, I was also injured in a motorcycle accident, and paralyzed from the mid abdomen down. It sucks to hear that his representation just left him hanging, but you would be suprised how co…mmon that is, even with close friends that you’ve know for years. I wish I could something, but I am in a similar situation trying to come up with ways to pay for more rehab. I have no idea if they do anything internationally, or not, but the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation are an excellent source for info, resources, contacts, recovery clinics in the states… and again, no idea internationally but, NTAF-National transplant assistance fund & Catastrophic injury program- They try to help w/ fundraising in your area to come up w/ money that insurances dont cover for care expenses. websites are

    http://www.christopherreeve.org/site/c.ddJFKRNoFiG/b.4048063/k.C5D5/Christopher_Reeve_Spinal_Cord_Injury_and_Paralysis_Foundation.htm

    http://www.ntafund.org/about/

  2. James Ryan

    The following message was just left for me today by Will:

    “Besides having to win given my disability every day, I still have to fight those who played against me, and Brazil really an ungrateful country with its top athletes, I am very sad with the government and businessmen in the State of Rio de Janeiro, they only think about their pockets, do not think social.”

    Hang in there, Will!!

  3. James Ryan

    We are currently looking into setting up a Foundation on Will’s behalf.

    I will post the details soon, so please check back regularly as I will also be offering updates on Will’s condition and circumstances.

    Cheers and thanks for reading.
    James

  4. James Ryan

    Hello Fans of Will Ribeiro!

    It is great that so many of you want to help Will. :) I have been to the Sherdog forum and many of the comments are very positive and helpful.

    However, please note the following:

    1. You can direct deposit money straight into Will’s account with the information provided above. You don’t need to wait for a PayPal account. If so many of you are wanting to donate money to Will, then please do it ASAP. Thank you.

    With that being said however, you can send money through PayPal to: jrfit01@hotmail.com

    This is my email address and I will absolutely guarantee that 100% of any money will make it to Will.

    2. I communicate with Will almost daily. He is doing much better, but now he feels that he has the greatest fight of his life in front of him and it’s not with Black House or Ed Soares. Will is out to raise awareness on the high levels of discrimination in Brazil against the handicapped. I applaud and support his efforts.

    3. If you really want to help Will, you should help spread the word about his cause and help to create more awareness on his behalf. Will’s situation is no joke and he needs all of the support that he can get.

    4. It’s really great that Wandy donated a signed pair of shorts to Will, but part of the whole reason why I met Will in the first place was because he needs money, and the shorts, as generous as the gesture was, have done nothing to help him.

    That’s really all that I can say at the moment, but please check back regularly for updates. Also, there will be a big announcement regarding Will in a few weeks and you will only get the news here first.

    Thank you my friends for reading about Will and helping in any way possible.

    Cheers
    James

  5. James Ryan

    Hi Guys,

    I just read the following message on Sherdog from a guy who calls himself ‘ViteVulf’:

    “I sent the article to every MMA personality that has ever replied to any of my messages in hopes of getting his story out there as i have nothing to donate at the moment.”

    This really had me thinking…

    Many of us are living in very tough economic times and not everyone is in a position to donate money to Will.

    But that doesn’t mean that you can’t help. If you are not in a position to help out financially, then please help Will by telling at least 10 of your friends and family about his circumstances. Tell anyone who is willing to listen and above all else, let’s stand behind Will as a proud member of the MMA Community.

    Let’s all help Will to spread his message, and that way – we can all make a difference. :)

    Thank you ViteVulf. You da man!!!

    JR

  6. muckmonsta

    wow, terrible thing to happen to such a talented fighter. His amazing progress however shows his incredible heart and determination, and that there is hope for him to continue to recover beyond all expectations. I will put him in my prayers and if I’m able to confirm independently that all the money being donated is reaching him, I will surely donate what I can and encourage others to do the same.

    I hate to stray from the important message here, but I feel a need to voice that I think it is quite tasteless to drag Black House’s name through the mud for what makes for a catchier title. It could just as easily have said WEC turns back on injured fighter. I’m no defender of Ed Soares by any means, but WEC writes the checks…the manager just negotiates them for a fee, and it’s not like we’re talking hundreds of thousands in the two WEC fights Will fought in. I would not at all expect Soares to reach into his personal money, even if it is the right thing to do. WEC/Zuffa has all the exposure and money…they need to step up and use their wide reach to ask for donations from the millions of people they can reach out to. Ed is a nobody to the public w/ very little exposure and almost no influence- I think we should petition WEC/UFC to at least make mention of it at next event so his tragic story is heard by enough people to make a big difference.

    Please accept my apology for the ill-timed rant. I just rewatched his fight w/ Beebe and it made his recovery video that much harder to take. Do we know what hospital or facility he’s at? I have friends in Brazil and maybe I could arrange someone to visit him and try to cheer him up in person, and maybe get a more thorough interview in Portugese. Thanks to those who donated and have spread his story!

  7. James Ryan

    I understand your concern, Muckmonsta.

    I can’t say a whole lot at this time, but I will say this…

    Yes – there is much more to the story – a lot more actually, and I promise that no one will like it.

    Will is very disappointed that two owners (and many friends and fighters) of Blackhouse (this isn’t all on Ed btw) have literally abandoned him – and not just financially. I speak with Will almost every day, and I wanted this article to reflect how “he” felt. That includes the headline.

    Sorry for any offence, but like I said, it will all make sense once all of the details are fully explained.

    Also, I have spoken with Reed Harris (WEC President) and I have a message from Ed Soares to call him to discuss his side of this situation.

    Be patient my friend. In the meantime, please help Will by spreading his message. At this point, he doesn’t want anything to do with Blackhouse anyway and his struggle/cause is against the government of Brazil and the discrimination of the handicapped.

    Thank you

  8. James Ryan

    PayPal information and confirmation by Will Ribeiro: http://i51.tinypic.com/2yxm16r.jpg

    Please email your donation to jrfit01@hotmail.com

    I will post a verification on this comment thread to confirm that the money has been received. Thank you!

  9. James Ryan

    Thank you Stephen M. for your £20.00 GBP donation through PayPal

  10. James Ryan

    Thank you Nicholas S. for your $10.00 USD donation through PayPal.

    Message from Nicholas: “I know it’s only $10…. I’ve stressed on my facebook and to my friends to send whatever they could, even if it was only $1! I’ve been a fan for years and I hope to see Will come back strong. Hopefully he’ll be able to fight under the UFC after the merger. I will get more help! – Nick S.”

    Thank you Nicholas! I hope everyone follows your example. God Bless from Will Ribeiro.

  11. Jakub

    Hey James, I read the story about Will Ribeiro…a very sad situation. I went ahead and sent a message to Showdown Joe Ferraro the host of MMA Connected and mentioned this. I proposed that they should mention his story and that the Wanderlei shorts are up for acution and maybe they can be sold. Lets see what happens.

  12. James Ryan

    Thank you Adam S. for your $100.00 USD donation through PayPal.

    Message from Adam: “Hello James,I just read the article on your website and felt i had to help.I won this money on the Pacquiao fight at the weekend and feel that Will is in much more need of it than i am!Also between myself and 2 of my friends we have over 7500 facebook friends and we have posted it on our news feeds!”

    Wow!! Thank you Adam!!!

  13. Lee

    Made a short video of Will and wanted to know if it was ok to link to your website so people can hear Will’s story, if not i will take it down.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXRjiy6M3l4
    Thanks.

  14. James Ryan

    Lee,

    I love it!!! Thank you for your hard work and thoughtfulness!!

    I added it to my NEW video page. Excellent footage of Will in his prime. He could have been WEC/UFC Champion for sure!

    All the best and God Bless from Will.
    James

  15. James Ryan

    Thank you Jared H. for your $1.75 USD donation through PayPal.

    “Sorry it is not more, it’s all I have right now. I’ll try to donate more later. Good luck and God Bless”

    ———–

    No worries Jared, if that is all you can afford right now, then I commend you. Thank you. JR

  16. James Ryan

    Thank you Matthew K. for your $10.00 USD donation through PayPal.

    “I know it’s not much but this is for Will Ribiero.”

    —————-

    Thank you! JR

  17. James Ryan

    Thank you Tiberiu T. for your $20.00 USD donation through PayPal.

    “I am intending this to go exclusively to Will Ribeiro to help in his rehabilitation. I train MMA and am a motorcycle racer and I read his story on Sherdog and wanted to do my small part to help. Thanks.”

    ————–

    Thank you. JR

  18. James Ryan

    Thank you John P. for your $100.00 USD donation through PayPal.

    “Hey James We talked on Facebook yesterday, sending my donation to Will and hoping he is doing better.. MMA has given us fans so many fantastic moments and it’s only fair that when a fighter is struck by such unfortunate luck, then we try to give him something back. Regards John”

  19. James Ryan

    Thank you Joe G. for your $25.00 USD donation through PayPal.

    “This is a donation for injured WEC fighter Will Ribiero. Please see that he receives it.”

  20. James Ryan

    Thank you Christoph D. for your $2.00 USD donation through PayPal.

  21. James Ryan

    Thank you Mustafa K. for your $20.00 CAD donation through PayPal.

  22. steven h

    Hi, James.
    How’s Will Ribeiro doing? Does he still need help?
    Thanks for the update.
    steven h

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