Shortly after Evangelista ‘Cyborg’ Santos had his skull literally smashed in by Michael ‘Venom’ Page in their Bellator fight, his ex-wife Cris Cyborg started a GoFundMe account to raise money for the injured fighter. But it turned out that Bellator would be paying for Evangelista’s medical bills, and Santos himself wasn’t interested in keeping the $24,000 raised on his behalf.
What he plans to do with the money is truly heartwarming, though. Via MMA Junkie:
“When I was 11 years old, I started shining shoes to help support my family,” the 38-year-old said. “I had six siblings. My father worked the land, and my mother was housekeeper. I would come home from school at 11 a.m. and stayed out in the streets until 10 p.m.
“This time of my life had a tremendous impact on me, as I started attending an institute called Casa do Menor Trabalhador de Rua – the home for child street workers in Rondonopolis, Brazil. It was supported by business owners and nuns. They had a library, a foosball table, soccer balls and hourly prayers.”
“Ever since I was a child, I’ve wanted to repay, from my heart, the sense of security and direction I received at this project,” he said. “Today I’m the fruit of their labors. So I wish to use the money that has been raised to launch a great dream of mine, to offer martial arts, literature and English classes. That way, we can prepare new champions for the fight that is life, and encourage them to use their full potential – intellectual, physical and technical.”
The only concerning thing here is that Cyborg isn’t taking his serious injury seriously enough. “I’m really fine,” he told Brazilian MMA outlet Combate the day after the fight. “He only broke the eggshell, but nothing happened to my brain!” And his ex-wife told TMZ Sports, “He’s so funny because he says ‘I can fight in three months!’ I said, ‘No, man, you cannot fight in three months!'”
He certainly can’t. There’s questions whether any legitimate athletic commission will ever license him again. At the very least, he’ll have to wait until his own bone grows over a metal plate that will be set over the fractured area. Standard healing times for these kinds of injuries don’t really take into account the kind of trauma you need to be able to take in a fight — like the flying knee that cracked Cyborg’s ‘eggshell’ in the first place.
So we’re hoping he realizes how long he’s going to be on the shelf from this injury. But to take nearly $25,000 and donate it to a charity like the Casa do Menor Trabalhador de Rua is a wonderful thing to do.