Sportstender: A Personal Reflection on the Will Ribeiro vs Black House Situation
“Success without honour is an unseasoned dish. It will satisfy your hunger, but it won't taste good.”—Coach Joe Paterno
Brazilian entertainer, MC Frank, seems like a truly great guy. It’s really refreshing to see the support that he and many others have been offering former WEC fighter, Will Ribeiro, especially when you consider that so many others have tucked-tail and run away from the controversy due to callousness or fear of retribution.
As a side note, I would just like to say the following with regards to Will and the whole situation that went down with Black House MMA over the past year. When Will's story first came to light, something just didn't make sense to me. It didn't make sense that Black House would abandon one of their own fighters. And you know what Judge Judy says, right? "If it doesn't make sense, it's not likely true." I had always respected the fighters from Black House, and I just didn’t want to believe that the claims made by Will about their management team were in any way true. In hindsight, I don’t think any of us really did.
Determined to uncover the absolute truth, I took it upon myself to investigate this situation further (remember: writing is, and has only ever been a hobby of mine, and nothing more), and I made sure that I interviewed all parties involved throughout a process that took nearly an entire year to complete. It consumed my life, ruined many friendships, hurt my family, and I even lost my job. But if I had to do it all over again, I would.
What shocked me the most however, was that Ed Soares, Will's former manager at Black House, repeatedly contradicted himself throughout his interview, and was so completely willing to tell multiple lies about Will, and especially about Will's brother, Wladimir Alves (I guess Ed thought that I was just as gullible and stupid as the majority of the people who report on this sport) in an effort to save his own reputation, that he left me with no other option but to write about his claims in great detail in my new book, Desolate Warrior. As it turned out, these lies were all part of an ongoing and vicious smear campaign (an intentional, premeditated effort to undermine an individual's reputation, credibility, and character), but of course, not everyone saw it this way and immediately sympathized with Black House as being the “victims.”
The harsh reality is that most MMA Fans only want to be entertained (or distracted from their otherwise boring lives) and are incredibly blind to any truth that could potentially harm their precious sport. They definitely don't care about Will, and would sooner take Ed or Dana White’s word for something, than to take the time to learn the truth themselves (probably because most of them don’t like to read).
“The greatest ignorance is to reject something you know nothing about.”
MMA Media on the other hand, for the most part, only care about their own personal agendas and business opportunities. They don't care about the truth because they are not real journalists—a point that TSN’s Michael Landsberg recently made when he interviewed UFC fighter, Chael Sonnen on OTR (start watching at the 10-minute mark): Video
The “media” in MMA won't report on anything that might jeopardize their event credentials or damage their relationships with the UFC (or with Black House) because they are all a bunch of cowards with biased perspectives.
Why are they biased?
Because above all else, they are “fans” first, "journalists" second, and thirdly, they allow themselves to develop these “friendships” with other people in the industry—fighters, coaches, trainers, sponsors, promoters—and this prevents the truth from ever being told because this factor (every “fans” dream) creates the necessity of not wanting to offend anyone, thus limiting each of their own personal opportunities for financial success in a business that is already over-saturated and has limited growth potential. It’s a complete joke.
One website in particular (I’ll leave it up to you to guess which one), even once told me that despite the fact that they felt really bad for Will and what had happened to him, they didn't want to hurt any of their current relationships (particularly with Black House), despite the fact that that made them look cowardly (which I obviously agreed with) and I was shocked! I couldn't believe my ears. And this coming from a person who I had been helping for over a year and who dared to call himself my friend. Well, friends like that, I don't need. They are fake.
“I don't acknowledge certain people in my life. Instead, I treat them like the cancer they are. I just cut them out and never look back.”—James Ryan
UPDATE: At the end of the day, the book (self-published) has not been selling, even though Ed Soares tried to tell Will (he called him up recently and was being all buddy-buddy and manipulative on the phone) that he heard the book was selling very well here in Canada—something that he would have absolutely no idea about. Ed was obviously only fishing around for clues because he is scared that one day, the truth will be told to the masses.
And it will. One way or another—it will. Not to embarrass Ed, as he embarrassed himself already by lying. But to exonerate Will and his brother, Wladimir, so that one day, they can both live in peace without the stigma that Black House has unfairly placed upon them.
Something else that I have learned throughout this process is that people in general, don’t like to read sad stories about other people’s problems. Even as I was writing the book, I struggled with the idea that I was in need of a happy ending, which I think it ultimately does—as much as it can anyway. Then again, perhaps this book is merely the teaser to get the real story rolling—one that I won’t actually write for another 10 years. Who knows...
I recognize that this is a very tough read for many (at the beginning at least), but the truth is often harder to take sometimes. I suppose that’s why we now live in a society that would sooner bury their heads into a computer or television screen, than to actually pay attention to the real problems that are going on around us, and then try to do something to help fix them.
Admittedly, the book has several complicated themes and layers to it, not all of which will be transparent to everyone. In fact, I know that they won’t be. But if there’s one thing about this book that can never be disputed, it’s that it was written with the intention of fairness. At least, right up until the lies came out.
Desolate Warrior is a real-time account of the words and actions of those involved, but it’s also the start of a much bigger project that I think most people will never be able to anticipate (thus prevent). Not a day goes by that I don’t think about the sequel.
I have been called a lot of things since this book came out, none of which I actually cared about (my skin is thicker than yours), but the one thing that I thought was the funniest, was when some people tried to label me as a “hater.” I guess in their minds, it was easier to think of me that way, and to assume that I had some misguided personal agenda for fame, fortune and garnering attention for myself by stirring up controversy where it didn’t already exist, than it was to acknowledge that I might actually be right.
The only dislike that I have (I don’t actually “hate” anybody) is towards those who would sooner facilitate a man’s death than to help him in his time of need—and then lie about it.
I once had a lot of respect for Black House and the MMA Community as a whole, but sadly (or thankfully, depending on how you view it), those days have now gone up in a massive ball of flames.
These are my opinions. If you don’t like them…I have others. You can check them out at www.sportstender.tv