Dream featherweight champion, Bibiano Fernandes defended his belt for the last time against Joachim Hansen, but the real battle started right after the bout. With the promise he would receive his purse 20 days after the event, Bibiano needed to wait for six months. On an interview to TATAME, the black-belt talked about his problem with Dream, explained why he will be out of the next edition of the event and revealed that he might stop fighting MMA in case Dream closes its doors. “I’ll be pretty honest with you: if someday I stop fighting in Japan, I won’t fight anywhere else because I’m not interested”. Check below the chat with the fighter, who revealed to TATAME his dream of seeing Jiu-Jitsu becoming an Olympic sport.
How did you know that, finally, you would get paid?
First of all, I’d like to thank TATAME for publishing that article… It ran all though Canada, United States, until it got to the ears of the guys from Dream. It got there and they called me about a week ago saying that my money was there, that they have sent it to my manager, so it’s cool… They had made a proposal for me to fight on the next edition of the event, but you turned it down because they owed you your money.
Did they make a new proposition?
They called me and said they wanted me to fight on the 25th event. Are you nuts? I said: “You just paid me, you didn’t even talk to me before and now you want me to fight? I’m a professional. This is my life, this is what I do for a living, it’s not like that”. It’s not about the money, I want to make a good fight, I’m not training… Ok, I’m training, but I’m not on the level to fight. I told they it doesn’t work like that, I’m not conditioned, I’m not on the right rhythm, I won’t fight. I’ll go to Brazil and see my father, my family, so maybe next time”. They started saying thing and claiming they’d give me things and I said: “I won’t fight. You said you’d pay me in 20 days and only six months later you actually paid me. You want me to fight, but no. I appreciate it, but maybe next time”. Let’s see how things get.
They got to tell you how you would fight?
They didn’t say… I think I’d be (Hiroyuki) Takaya, but I’m not 100% sure. He told me he wanted to fight me and that it would be for the belt. I don’t have a problem fighting anybody, but I think things are supposed to be fair. I think that being fair is a thing we should always look for in life. If the guy gives me three weeks to fight and got my money there, I won’t fight for the money, I’ll fight for my country, my family and friends, for those who are near me.
Dream has been going though this problem paying its athletes. How do you see it?
Well, man… I’ll be pretty honest with you: If someday I stop fighting in Japan, I won’t fight anywhere else because I’m not interested. My plan is Jiu-Jitsu, I love Jiu-Jitsu. Whatever I can do in order to help Jiu-Jitsu, I will. Dream is an excellent event, but is going through a difficult situation, I don’t really know what is going on. Whoever fought in Japan know what it feels like… The fans respect you there. I hope that, someday, Dream or other event may go though it and find a way out of this because it’s a good event, it’s beautiful and the Japaneses, for their own formation, need an event like Dream there. Before there wasn’t this problem, but I hope they really find a way out of this and that everything works out just fine for them.
If you leave Dream, will you quite MMA? Why don’t you just move to an event in the US, for example?
I fight for the sport, for my students, my friends… I don’t know if I’d fight on the United States because look at my division there… The guys don’t pay us decently. I do my classes, I don’t think it’s worth it to go there and fight for US$ 10 thousand and change all my life to train and fight. I like fighting, I love fighting, but if my money is enough, I’ll keep fighting Jiu-Jitsu, giving lessons of Jiu-Jitsu, that’s what I want. In life everything had its exact time and I’ll enjoy it all long as it lasts and when it’s over, it’s over. I’ll fight until God allows me to.
Do you see yourself fighting on a big event of Jiu-Jitsu again, like Worlds, or ADCC?
I’m on the campaign for the Jiu-Jitsu to join the Olympic Games, I really want Jiu-Jitsu to become an Olympic sport, I really want it. I’ll do whatever is in my power in order to help it.
What do you think that must change in Jiu-Jitsu so it becomes an Olympic sport?
Jiu-Jitsu has to become professional… He’s already is professional, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a beautiful one. I’m here in Canada and I’m seeing the sport growing, the number of students is rising pretty fast. I think they should shorten the time (of the fights)… If I’d fight today, it wouldn’t be like it used to be, Jiu-Jitsu changed a lot. It had to lose that sticking thing, it should be more like Roger Gracie, (Ronaldo) Jacaré, this style…
Do you have the dream of maybe fighting Jiu-Jitsu on an Olympic Game?
For sure, man. If I had the opportunity of representing my country, surely I’d be there and represent my country on Jiu-Jitsu. There are the guys that come from Wrestling and represent their country on the Olympic Games, so it would be a pleasure. I train Jiu-Jitsu here, everything I have I owe to Jiu-Jitsu and to God. The beginning of my life was on Jiu-Jitsu.
If it doesn’t happen to you, maybe your son can represent Brazil in the future, right?
If God wants to. Let’s train him… I don’t know if I’ll have a son or a daughter, but if it’s a boy, for sure… My dream is to see Jiu-Jitsu on the Olympic Games, even if I’m not there… It’ll be like a dream come true not only for me, but to all Brazilians.