Over the weekend Erberth Santos made headlines during the main event of the BJJ Stars: Black Belt Edition competition. Santos, who was about two minutes into his match with Felipe Pena, appeared to injure his knee. Moments later, appearing to have heard an insult from someone on Pena’s team, he leaped to his feet and attacked one of Pena’s black belts, starting a brawl that many have compared to the one seen at UFC 229.
Many black belts, including Pena himself, have given their thoughts about the incident, but earlier today, Santos himself finally issued a statement giving his side of the story.
“Today I came to talk a little about what really happened this last Sunday. As soon as I arrived at the event, he started the insults. I let it be and I continued entering the gym. I arrived with my students. We talked and then went down the stands to be next to my teacher (Guigo) — we were watching the fights right there. We both went up to the food court to take pictures with the fans and to talk to the crowd.
The moment I was taking a picture with the guys, I got a punch from behind the rib, but [the area] was so full I could not see who it was. I went down to the fighting area to concentrate, but every time I passed members of other teams offending me and making gestures towards me. This was happening until the beginning of the fight.
We started the fight, and after a few minutes I injured myself and asked to stop the fight to see what had happened. I called the doctors, and until then, everything was alright. … At that very moment [the members of the other team] started calling me “monkey,” “black bastard,” “marginal”, very prejudiced insults. The insults weren’t just about me — they cursed my mother who was not even there at that moment, to the point that even my teacher was offended.
After that I ran up to the boy who was cursing everyone. When I got close to him, he apologized and I stopped. I was good. Out of nowhere, a member of the opposing team punched me in the face and ran away. I ran after him on the mat and fell on the other side. All my opponent’s students hit me with punches and kicks, until my OPPONENT came down from the mat to kick me. He landed a kick to my face and one in my belly. After that my team pulled me out. I know my attitude was totally wrong, but in the heat of the moment, I could not resist. At that moment a person, I do not even know was cursing people that I LOVE on my side — it was not through the internet or social networks, it all happened less than a meter and a half away. No one would take that.
This text was just a preview of my statement. I’m going to make a video talking about everything that happened, how I felt at that moment, and how I am today.”
The Jiu-Jitsu Times will continue to provide updates on this story as they become available.