Following a public brawl caught on tape, Bellator middleweight Maiquel Falcao (31-6 MMA, 3-1 BFC) and undefeated featherweight Kaue Mena (7-0) have been kicked off their MMA team.
Marcelo Brigadeiro, who heads the Renovacao Fight Team in Balneario Camboriu, Santa Catarina, Brazil, today issued a statement that said the fighters' behavior was not compatible with his team's philosophy.
Falcao appears to have initiated a brawl at a gas station near the team's home by shoving a female, which prompted several men to brawl with he and Mena both inside and outside the establishment. Both were hit with a wooden board, and Mena was badly beaten while unconscious, according to a Brazilian news report that contained surveillance footage of the incident.
Both were taken to Hospital do Coracao in Balneario Camboriu, as previously reported. Falcao was released, but according to Brigadeiro, featherweight Mena remains in a coma. Falcao's wife wrote on Facebook that the fighter's condition was improving.
Brigadeiro said the men that responded to Falcao's initial shove of the woman bear equal responsibility for the brawl and said their beating of Mena was "cowardly and criminal" in a statement released to Portal Do Vale Tudo. But he added that Falcao and Mena shouldn't have been in that position in the first place as professional fighters.
I, Marcelo Brigadeiro, in my role as leader of team Company Fight/RFT through this letter voice my official stance regarding the regrettable fight episode involving the athletes Maiquel Falcao and Kaue Mena.
Initially I’d like to make it clear that as far as my interpretation of the facts, I don’t believe any of the involved are innocent, all were wrong, in greater or lesser proportions. The actions of Maiquel Falcao which triggered all that occurred, despite it not being an aggression as many have characterized it, was disrespectful and not compatible with the behavior of an athlete. The reaction of the aggressors was in turn exaggerated, cowardly and criminal. Kaue Mena himself, who remains in a coma in the ICU at Hospital do Coracao (Coração) in Balneario Camboriu (Balneário Camboriú), also carries with him part of the guilt of what occurred; as a professional MMA athlete, he should not be on the streets at the hour of the event.
I also make it clear that the attitude of these two athletes does not reflect on the behavior of our entire team. We are known as one of the most successful teams in the world and also as a true family of athletes, good men of character, of exemplary behavior, as should be expected from true practitioners of martial arts. The attitudes of Maiquel Falcao and Kaue Mena do not meet what is taught by myself and practiced by my students, nor is it what’s expected by our sponsors and commercial partners.
I know that as professionals and practitioners of martial arts we should not and cannot be associated with night life, fights, altercations and the consumption of alcohol. We have the obligation to serve as an example to society and above all to children who see us as heroes.
Whoever knows me knows the immense love that I feel for my work and for my students, whom I treat as sons, including Maiquel Falcao and Kaue Mena. However, as master or ‘father’, as they call me, I must not and cannot close my eyes to the flaws of my 'boys'. Due to the aforementioned, it is with a broken heart and great sadness that I officially announce that Maiquel Falcao and Kaue Mena no longer are a part of team Company Fight/RFT.
Lastly, I hope that this tragedy serves as a lesson to all of us. May we be aware how much a simple and unfortunate action can affect our lives in negative and permanent ways. May those who are starting in this profession understand that choosing to be an athlete is not the selection of a job, but that of a philosophy of life that requires self-sacrifice, discipline and obedience.
Falcao most recently fought in February at Bellator 88, where he was knocked out by Alexander Shlemenko in a bout for the promotion's vacant middleweight title. Mena fought this past month at a regional event in Rio do Sul, Santa Catarina, and earned a first-round TKO.
Bellator said a comment on the incident could be forthcoming today.
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