There has been no other person that I have ever met in my entire life that has faced as much criticism and hatred than Will Ribeiro’s brother, Wladimir Alves. The reason? As a result of his own desperation, Wladimir embarked on a social media campaign to help his brother who is now confined to a wheelchair down in Brazil (which I have been told by others that “being handicapped down in Brazil is the equivalent of living in hell”), but a funny thing about this criticism is that it only seems to come from those who are fans or members of the fighting circuit. Beyond that, Wladimir is continuously revered as a “hero” by just about everybody else that is in any way familiar with Will Ribeiro’s situation.
So who is right and who is wrong? Why do members of the MMA community view Wladimir in such a different light than how the rest of the world views him? Could it be that the rest of the world is blind to his true character? Or could it be that the fight circuit is biased in their views of him because he would dare to condemn the sport’s greatest Brazilian “stars” for their lack of help and compassion towards their one-time friend and comrade, former WEC fighter Will Ribeiro?
As you will read below, Wladimir Alves has a few words (and excellent points) for his would-be critics. Special thanks to Fernando Correa for his help with the translations.
“Strange feeling, the one I feel inside my heart. When I go to places with my brother, the people stare at me, many of those people are from the fight circuit. When they see us, they avoid us, even more so when they see me at Will’s side. I really try to comprehend why people judge me without knowing what really happened. It's easy to condemn me. No one knows what really goes on, so it's easier. Many people comment to me that sometimes I'm too harsh with the words I write over e-mail, and some even go further, saying that the people who I talk about in the e-mails have deadly hatred and anger towards me, and they have a strong urge to beat me up.
“Well, in these past three years of a radical life change, of hurry, struggle, and perseverance, I will admit that at many times I made mistakes when looking for a way to explore the best way of asking for help for my brother. Naturally, being alone, with no manager supporting me, with no gratuitous media, without anybody to be a consultant for me, I failed purely due to ignorance. I had the attitude of kicking the door in instead of looking for a key, but is this a reason to condemn my brother? To mistreat, avoid and ignore him? To take out the anger on an innocent person who is wheelchair bound, still needing rehabilitation treatment—is it fair?
“Will Ribeiro, before his bike accident in 2008, had business contacts with his managers Joinha (Jorge Guimaraes) and Ed Soares, his training friends at the Centro de Treinamento Irmãos Nogueira and the Academia Boxe Thai Grajaú: Rodrigo Nogueira, Rogerio Nogueira, Edson Draggon, Alex Gaze, Julio Gavião, Anderson Silva, Johnny Eduardo, among other friends from other fight teams such as Milton Vieira and Willians Parrudinho, not to mention other people who I can't remember right now. Many of these friends of Will had many kinds of affinities with him and were very intimate, be it at the Rio nightlife, in the almost daily training, or in many different places. Will was a very happy and fun person, and he was a great friend to have around at parties. He enjoyed the night like no one. Those who know him, know what I'm talking about. They knew my brother better than myself.
“Today, many of those friends who I mentioned in this email—and I am forwarding this mail to all of them—are at the top of the hill at the fight circuit. Thank God, they are being very successful. They deserve to be seen as Brazilian heroes, and I admire each one of them as athletes. I have nothing to say about them. I have nothing bad to write about those winners of the ring, but as people, as friends, and as human beings, in my opinion as family, as a brother, I think that they are lacking towards their comrade at work. Who met Will Ribeiro, the ones who went out with him, trained with him, enjoyed the night with him, went through many situations with him, saw how Will was their comrade when fighting with 10 guys. Regardless of anything, he defended his friends. I know this because I saw him defending friends at the Salgueiro ball, and he alone, took on five guys in a fight that wasn't his own. Those who know of Will’s character and nature understand my brother, and I know that there were many people who were terrified of him. He is a respected man in various communities in Rio. If anyone else that I have mentioned above was in a wheelchair, Will for sure, would help them.
“I never asked for money from his managers Joinha and Ed Soares, and I never asked for money from Rodrigo Nogueira, Rogerio Nogueira, Anderson Silva, or among others who helped Will financially, yet today I am condemned for something I have never done. I am judged as a crook, swindler, criminal, person of poor character, scammer, leech—among other things. All of this because I have asked for help.
“Imagine if I were really a dissimulated person of bad character—a scammer like they think (or claim) I am. Would Andre Pederneiras really have made several 1000 reais deposits for months in Will's account? And after the money was over, he made another 5000 reais deposit. With that money, we paid for nurses, physical therapists, medication so he wouldn't have convulsions, and food. Now, Will has less than 1200 reais left in his account. I had to dismiss the nurse and quit my job to stay with him. Andre Pederneiras donated over 25 thousand reais to my brother during these long three years, and Master Artur Mariano pays a psychologist for my brother. She comes once a month. He spends 1400 reais a month with this.
“The BOPE commander, colonel Wilman Rener and captain Ivan Blaz are people who never had a business relationship or intimacy with my brother, but even then, they decided to godfather my brother at BOPE's headquarters and do everything to help him. They try to get "media" for my brother, and keep looking for ways to help him. They want to sign him as a boxing instructor at BOPE to teach at social projects. They are mobilizing themselves for the boy. I never saw such a thing before: The BOPE commander, a very important person, with a full schedule, doing everything for my brother. He treats him like a son—just like Dede (Andre Pederneiras). People who were never friends with Will, who aren't rich, famous, powerful, knowledgeable about the fight circuit—they aren't businessmen, but try to help Will Ribeiro somehow—that sums up my dismay.
“It was never my objective to cash in on my brother's situation. I can prove to whoever comes to my home that I have extracts of his account. The bank card stays with Mrs. Romana just so no one can talk trash about my name. I took this attitude because I am not a Saint, but I am not a leech. There is no swindling, smut or trickery about this. If there was, Andre Pederneiras, Artur Mariano, BOPE commander Wilman Rener and Captain Ivan Blaz would never be helping my brother, and if there was, they would have already done something about me, and that is a fact.
“How can so many people judge me as a crook, as an evil doer, and as a trickster? This is just wrong. People only act in such a cowardly way towards me because I'm not famous and I have no media power. This isn't fair. I have only asked for help for my brother—for him, and not for me—the way that those who condemn me are interpreting things, are wrong. I am not a crook.
“Judging me is easy. If you were in my place, what would you do? With no infrastructure to take care of your now wheelchair bound brother—with no mother or father, without money, without governmental support... Will was a friend who hung out with and trained with Rodrigo Nogueira, Anderson Silva, Rogerio Nogueira, alongside other famous people who make the difference in MMA. These guys have media, money, fame, power, knowledge...fuck...honestly... who am I going to ask for help from? For the love of God, anybody in my place would do the same thing and would try to put some goodwill inside these guys' hearts.
“Seriously, it's easy to condemn me. Now let's see someone be me.”
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