From the big show to a wheelchair

As you all know giving is close to my heart and since this is the season for giving I figured I'd re-post this.

This was originally posted on BJPENN.COM by Pedro Carrasco

Three years ago WEC fighter Will Ribeiro’s life changed forever.

From the hardened streets of Brazil, Ribeiro grew up poverty stricken but with the heart of a champion and was able to ascend through the sporting world with hard work and determination.

A member of Brazil’s Olympic boxing team, he took to MMA in an attempt to make a better life for himself and his family. However, fresh off of a fight in the WEC against former champion Brian Bowles he was involved in a motorcycle accident that has left him crippled for life.

While in Brazil, Ribeiro took to the streets on his motorcycle to deliver his fight gloves to a promised fan and on his way back from fulfilling his duties he was struck from behind by a speeding car and was ejected from his motorcycle headfirst into a curb. The accident crushed his skull, it crushed his career and it made him virtually wheelchair bound for life.

The former top MMA prospect and boxing expert is now blind in one eye and paralyzed on the left side of his body.

According to reports he is lucky to even be alive to this day and if it had not been for a series of lucky circumstances he would have more than likely never made it off that Brazilian street with a pulse.

After the incident, Ribeiro’s body lay lifeless on the street and as luck would have it, a lost emergency vehicle just happened to cross his path unexpectedly. They emergency professionals where able to quickly get him to a hospital where a team of brain surgeons where readily on hand in yet another unexpected and lucky turn of events.

They saved his life.

Will was in a Coma for the next six weeks. Once awake and recovered as much as could be, he found himself alive, but surgeons where unable to remove the bone fragments in his eye, they couldn’t save his vocal chords and he was missing a huge chunk of his skull which misshaped his head.

You would think that such a trauma would slow you down, but in Ribeiro’s case it has done anything but.

He teaches boxing in his small town using a PA system to amplify his frail and almost inaudible voice to his small class of students. He works as a ringside judge for MMA events in Brazil and he is working on spreading the word and trying to build awareness around the acceptance of handicapped citizens and motorcycle safety.

Will’s medical expenses alone are too costly for him and his family to cover. He needs speech therapy for his damaged vocal chords, he needs surgery to try and repair his vision in his eye, he requires physical therapy to fight muscle atrophy and countless amounts of medication.

He receives about $313 from the Brazilian government for his disability, but his medication costs alone total $283 per month. With the other host of needs and medical expenses it’s become difficult for him to get the treatment he needs to make a solid recovery.

That is where you guys come in.

It’s been three years since Ribeiro fell off his bike in Brazil and there is no sob story, no big charity fund, just a fighter, fighting to survive and doing his part to take care of himself, his family and raise awareness about his conditions to prevent others from finding the same fate.

His family however, has a need, a need for monetary support to get Will the medical attention he needs and to help with medical costs. They haven’t set up a fancy website with a charity fund, they don’t have a big campaign budget to try and get your hard earned money. But they do accept donations which are they use 100% towards getting Will the attention he requires.

All you have to do is visit and send a payment to

So get off some cash Penn Nation if you can spare it, even if it’s only $5.00 and let’s help this family out. If you send in your address with payment, Will, will send you off an autographed photo for your help.


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