Marcel Goncalves – Controversial BJJ Athlete

Marcel Goncalves

Marcel Gonclaves is one of the most reviled figures in the history of BJJ. The sexual assault case involving an underage student sent shockwaves through the BJJ community and started a saga of events.

Here is what you need to know about the case of Marcel Goncalves and everything that followed afterwards. From the initial rape and the backlash the Fight Sports received for housing the rapist.

Marcel Goncalves
Marcel Goncalves Vs Lucas Lepri Pan Championship 2013

Who is Marcel Goncalves?

For those of you that don’t know, Marcel Goncalves is a black belt under multi time BJJ champion Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu. Goncalves is actually one of the very first Fight Sports black belts under Abreu.

Marcel won the 2010 No-Gi Pans Championship as a brown belt and then received his black belt. He also fought in MMA and earned a record of 4-3.

Before the rape, Marcel taught Jiu Jitsu at a Fight Sports affiliate school that was located in Naples, Florida.

The Sexual Assault Case

In 2018, Marcel Goncalves was arrested for allegations of having a sexual relationship with a minor. The minor in question was a long time student of Goncalves that he had taught since she was in her early teens.

This started with the victim in question telling a friend that she was having a sexual relationship with Marcel. After telling her friend, the friend then told the victim’s father, who then called the police. 

Gonclaves was then confronted by police at his academy, where he would immediately confess to the crimes. He would repeat over and over, “I’m sick. I’m sick. I don’t know what is wrong with me.”

Cyborg Abreu’s Statements on Marcel Goncalves’ Case

After the arrest of his black belt student, Cyborg Abreu released the following statement on Goncalves’ arrest.

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“Sexual assault can never be tolerated. This week we learned of horrifying news about an individual who used to represent Fight Sports at one of our affiliate gyms. The actions of this individual do not reflect what I stand for and he will be held responsible for his actions. My heart breaks for the victim and her family. They know they have my full support. I ask that everyone give the victim and her family space and privacy, as they are going through something no one should ever have to experience.”

The Aftermath

Unfortunately, this would not be the end of the Marcel Goncalves saga. There would be more chapters to this story involving Gonclaves and other members of Fight Sport.

Marcel Goncalves Still Training At Fight Sport Gyms

Atfer the rape and on going trial, it would come to light that Fight Sports had not cut ties with Goncalves. There would be several reports of Gonclaves still training at Fight Sport schools.

Even allegedly working at Wagner Rocha’s Fight Sport affiliate school, which Rocha adamantly denied.

Marcel Goncalves
Marcel Goncalves Vs Phillip Layne Miller

Marcel Goncalves’ Fight with Tex Johnson

It was proven by Tex Johnson that Fight Sport never cut ties with Goncalves after an incident between the two. An incident that took place in 2021, which was three years after the arrest and during the trial.

In an Instagram post, Tex Johnson, would show a damaged eye he received from Goncalves during a training session. Johnson was visiting Wagner Rocha’s school, where Goncalves was still training after Fight Sports reps said he was no longer affiliated.

The two would train together, when Goncalves would intentionally poke Johson in the eye. They would get into an altercation and were separated.

After the incident, Rocha would get heat for allowing Goncalves to train at his gym during his sexual assault case. Rocha in a statement said that he kicked both Goncalves and Johnson out of the gym.

Johnson claimed that he had no knowledge of the ongoing sexual assault case against Gonclaves. He also claimed to have seen Goncalves training at Rocha’s school multiple times before their altercation.

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Keith Rummel

The story of Marcel Goncalves would continue to enter shady ground as former Fight Sports affiliated owner Keith Rummel came forward. Rummel would make some startling accusations against Cyborg and Fight Sports after the Goncalves saga began.

Goncalves was actually a BJJ instructor at the Fight Sports affiliate school owned by Rummels in Naple, Florida. Keith Rummels was also present for the arrest of Goncalves at his school in 2018.

After the arrest, Rummel would have a meeting with Fight Sports head, Cyborg Abreu. During their meeting, Rummel would agree, but then Abreu would ask him to give Goncalves $35,000 as a buyout.

Keith Rummel would refuse to give the money and his partnership with Fight Sport would end there. When asked about the buyout, Abreu confirmed the rumors.

Cyborg would add that the money was for Goncalves’ wife and child along with expenses for his lawyer.

Mo Jassim and Other Assault Accusation With Fight Sports

ADCC director Mo Jassim has been credited with not letting the Marcel Goncalves story get swept under the rug. He has been very adamant about holding Gonclaves and Fight Sports responsible.

Thanks to Jassim, there have been multiple other sexual assault incidents involving members of Fight Sports that have surfaced. Two of which involved Fight Sport black belt Rodrigo Da Costa Oliveira.

The first accusation against Oliveira came from former Fight Sports competitor Mandy Schneider. Mandy claims that Oliveira assaulted her while the two were away at a tournament alone together in a hotel.

Another anonymous blue belt student, also claimed Oliveira raped her in Bonito, Brazil during a Jiu Jitsu camp.

Jassim also started an Instagram account called BJJ Truth. A page dedicate to exposing sexual assault allegations against BJJ instructors. Since the Marcel Gonclaves fiasco, there have now been multiple claims made against various instructors.

Marcel Goncalves Pleads Insanity

Thanks to Covid and Goncalves’ lawyers pushing the dates, his case would start in December of 2021. Almost three years after his initial arrest.

During the initial hearing, Marcel Goncalves’ lawyers make it known that Gonclaves was going to plead insanity. Claiming that Goncalves had suffered brain damage from MMA and BJJ competitions.

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Statement from the court documents here: “The Defendant, MARCEL GONCALVES, by and through the undersigned attorney, files this “NOTICE OF INTENT TO RELY ON INSANITY DEFENSE” pursuant to Rule 3.216 of the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure. Defendant intends to rely on the defense of insanity at the trial of this matter and offers the below statement of in support. Defendant expects to establish that the Defendant was legally insane at the time of the charged offense, and specifically suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).”

Marcel Goncalves Flees Country

In 2021, Mo Jassim would post on BJJ Truth that Goncalves had allegedly fled the US and missed his court date. Claiming that he fled Brazil through Mexico.

An international warrant was put out for Goncalves, but if he is in Brazil, the country does not have extradition laws.

February 2023 Trial Targeted

Judge Jose Rodriguez, who is presiding over Marcel Gonclave’s case has set an initial trial date for February 20, 2023. The date for discovery prior to the initial trial date is January 19, 2023.

This trial date is not set in stone as the parties are only to be ready for trial by that date. The trial may start after that initial date.

Will There be Justice For Marcel Goncalves’ Victim?

This whole fiasco with Marcel Goncalves and Fight Sports actions afterwards have left a stain on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It has been five years since his arrest and justice has still not been served.

Fight Sports has attempted to make amends by stripping Goncalves of his black belt. Also starting a committee comprised of law enforcement officials to look into future allegations of sexual assault.

But truthfully, the whole BJJ community would like to see justice for Goncalves’ victim and have this whole incident go away. Hopefully this trial ends within the year to finally put this whole fiasco to rest.