2019 saw Erberth Santos cement his place as one of jiu-jitsu’s most controversial athletes. From his violent outburst at BJJ Stars to his moments of appearing to give up mid-match, the athlete’s accomplishments have been largely overshadowed by his behavior on the mats.
Earlier today, Santos wrote a lengthy post to recap his year, express hope for the future, and offer up his side of the story in regards to his more polarizing competition moments:
“2019 – What a year huh !!! 😀
I thought it was going to be the best year of my life, you see …
I crashed in January falling on a motorcycle and losing a 5mil bmw f800 driven “that motorbike, dream of a favela” (thankfully it was just very material).
With about 15% of my arm and raw meat, I had 20 days to train for Bjjstars.
February, in this same event, I lost my mind, where I was doing the main fight of the night, twisted my knee, stretched 2 ligaments, and the general public saying that I had faked an injury.
2 days later I received an email from Cbjj / IBJJF warning me that I would have to be punished for a period of one year because of a mistake I had made (I ACCEPTED).
In March, I had to leave the apartment I was living in and returned to the favela because of the expenses (personal choice).
April, without training completely, sabotaging myself, I went to Abu Dhabi, I lost 11kg, I recovered 6kg, I did the first fight of the event, I finished, I lost in the semi final, I left the fight feeling sick, I was attended by the doctor of the event, they gave me serum , they threw water at my body, 5 minutes later I had to do the 3rd match, a fight I couldn’t do, I was winning, but I couldn’t finish it (I was just in my kimono pants, wet from the water they played on me in medical care, and on the internet generally saying that I had pissed or sh*t myself hahaha).
Even before the first 6 months of the year, I discovered that I was going to be a father, even though I was single, was one of the most important things that happened this year!
Unable to fight, the budget tightened, I had to sell my car, I rode my bike … I would come and go from the gym like that. I had never known depression, and I think that within all these problems I ended up getting weak in my head and totally giving in to weed. Those who were with me, following closely, know well what I’m talking about, [weed] was my refuge (TOTALLY WRONG). When I saw it, I was even posting on social networks, as if [it were legalized in my country].
The situation was tightening more and more, I had to choose to be a fighter or quit the athletic career and just be a “teacher”, so I decided to give myself a chance, with pain in my chest, and with almost 100 students, I decided to close my gym and see what would become of me, after that, still half lost, I took a place in Campinas, leaving the São Paulo capital. [I] always liked animals, so I started buying chickens, pigs, sheep, I thought I was at peace now … There, I reached 93kg, weight that I had [not been at] since purple belt, so I left all the animals in the place next door, and returned to Sao Paulo, talked to Guigo, he offered me help, we went to the psychologist, I started treatment that helped and is helping me, I had some invitations to some events, I went to some, I won others, I didn’t have a good result, I still felt weak in my head, without trusting myself, I feel it was too much, that this left me in the comfort zone. I think everything was quiet and it wasn’t…
So, totally determined, I diminished what I thought was sabotaging me, the weed, smoking almost 10 or so per day, dropped to 1 a week or less, I don’t know! And I started training, got a fitness coach, doctor, coach, followed the work without looking back or criticism, because the criticism and the past will always be there, but they will not pass it! And I can go beyond that! I think there is still a lot left, but I’m happy, I’m feeling [like] Erberth again, I always said “I’m back”, but not knowing if it really was, got it?!
Now I’m here! More dedicated than ever in what I want! I look forward to the next challenges! You can’t let the things of the world make you give up on your dreams, and you can’t let the things of the world invade your life! What I want to talk about is that difficulties, good and bad people, will pass! It is much easier to criticize someone than to reach out to them. I particularly just have to thank the people who are with me side by side. Jean, was a student of mine and soon became more than brother, one day seeing everything I was thinking, he said “brother you can not give up! I think you are the emperor of jiu-jitsu,” (haha) I laughed and said “really? ”. He said a lot of things that are still stored in my heart to this day. Noelle, who at first was my confidant, my partnership, on February 23rd, me getting off the mat, she was the first person trying to stop me, fell down and generally saying that I had left the mat to hit a mine (hahaha Thank you denial, you are an angel in my life)
Guigāo, I don’t even need to talk right, you’re ALWAYS with me and never let me go, I don’t even know what would be me without you! Allan, the old man I met, who showed that he could leave me as nobody (physically) for the events, and look that we’re only 2 months serious. Marina do Vintage, since I arrived in São Paulo always helped me with lunch after training, Vinicius his brother, who always helped me too since the purple belt and has those cool army stuff I love! Dr.Fabiano, who even from São Caetano, reached out to me, arranged the handling pharmacy for my supplements. Jeez !! And so many other people make it hard to talk about each other, without forgetting any details!
I just want to say that I’m feeling better and better, and I want to say, without a mistake, that by 2020 I will be back to the top of the sport that at 9 years old I decided to live on! My mother and father who are the most special people in my life, in all these moments mentioned above, NEVER turned their backs on me and always trusted me! I know I’m not 100% yet, but I’m not under 50% as I was before! I am young, I am 25 years old, I have a lot to do, I know I will win a lot and I will lose too, but this is life! Love you! Even those who take 1 minute of life to threaten me, send msg circling me, I want to tell you that negative msgs do not come from the Lord Jesus, but I want Him to bless the life of each one of you!”