EXCLUSIVE: Cyborg Addresses Controversial Match with Gordon Ryan

The jiu-jitsu world has been turned upside down since last weekend's IBJJF World No-Gi Championships: one of the sport's best-known competitors has been lambasted across social media and accused of acting disrespectfully and dishonoring the sport. 

Memes have been made and social media feeds have been blowing up, but Cyborg himself has remained relatively silent on the matter – he posted a simple "mission accomplished" message shortly after the event and then went on to apologize in another instagram post. But it was never exactly clear why Cyborg acted like he did in his match with Gordon Ryan. 

We've reached out to clear the air and hopefully gain some clarity into the issue. In his own words, Cyborg describes his thoughts and motivations about last weekend. 

WATCH: Cyborg Abreu vs Gordon Ryan – 2018 No-Gi Worlds
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Roberto "Cyborg" Abreu statement on Gordon Ryan match

In the past few days much has been said regarding my fight at No-Gi Worlds with Gordon Ryan.

Today I want to try and set the record straight so that those who seek to pass judgement can have all the facts leading up to the moment in question.

I am someone who has always lived the true meaning of being a martial artist and the essence of what Jiu-Jitsu is. I come from a school where your moral is just as important if not more important than your talent and technique. 

In the weeks leading up to the fight I saw how Gordon systematically disrespected not only myself but all of his opponents, attempting to mock and belittle us with his words. Initially, I took his trash talking as nothing more than that, just words. 

However, as things progressed and his comments escalated, I began reflecting on the concept of respect. What it means to be respectful and how its a value worth defending.

In my 20 years competing I have faced the toughest of opponents and best in the world and NEVER have I disrespected any of them on or off the mats.  I have displayed nothing but good character and human decency throughout my career.

I understand respect as a two-way street. You need to give it in order to receive it. 

Gordon is one of the best competitors on the mat. I have acknowledged that since he came into the scene.

However, #Respect in our sport and in life is not given but earned.

Earned on the basis of how you treat others, how you present yourself and what you stand for.

I don't know where Gordon comes from or how he was raised, so I cannot speak on his behalf but I can speak for myself and explain where I come from and how I was raised.

I come from a place where its not ok to be disrespectful to others, not your opponents, not your fans, not anybody.

I was raised to understand that the way you treat others will determine how others treat you and vice versa.

I was raised to never be a bully but to always stand against one.

I come from a time where you respect family, and most, importantly women.

Here was when I took Gordon’s comment to heart. This sort of “trash talking” went beyond making comments on how he was going to “dominate me like a child” to saying that his opponents should sacrifice their girlfriends to him. He made it personal, he took it too far by disrespecting sacred things such as family and those closest to me. 

I come from a place where a guy that disrespects women is gonna get slapped, at least.

If in my attempt to take a stance I offended others I am sorry. I take responsibility for my actions.  I am not trying to defend them and say my actions were respectful, Gordon broke the respect when he opened his mouth. 

In those moments you will have to make your presence felt and your stance known.

I wasn't only thinking of winning a match but rather teaching this kid the importance of respecting others in order to receive respect.

I failed to win the match yes, and some of you may disagree with my actions, but now you know where I was coming from and what I stand for.  And that is what is most important to me. 

Long live the real kings who have respect and true values on and off the mats.

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