Update: November 23, 2010
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Thanks to everyone and PLEASE, spread this message!!!!! The entire MMA Community needs to know about Will and his struggle to survive.
Mr. James Ryan
Freelance Mixed Martial Arts Sportswriter