The word "inspirational" is thrown around a lot these days, but the story of Will Ribeiro isn’t one of these cases.
Most of you will have no idea who Ribeiro is at this stage and, unfortunately, even more will never get the chance to see him in the cage doing what he does best.
Will was a professional mixed martial artist based out of Brazil. After being a boxer since the age of 17, he chose a career of prizefighting in 2003, he won eight of his nine bouts in his homeland before being noticed by Ed Soares.
Soares is one of the founders of the Black House gym that plays host to many of Brazil’s top talent including Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida.
Soares got Ribeiro booked in the United States for WEC, the sister-organization to the UFC.
Ribeiro wasted no time making a splash defeating former WEC bantamweight kingpin Chase Beebe before losing in a title-eliminator to future champ Brian Bowles—little did we know, this would be the last time we would see the Brazilian fight.
A mere 13 days later his life would change forever, he rode his motorcycle on a rain-slick road without a helmet and paid the price for it.
Ribeiro spent the next 29 days in a coma with a 50 percent chance of death; he recovered from the accident, but will likely never regain full activity of his body.
That’s where the story takes another twist; his team members at Black House who consider him a “family member” seemingly turn their back on the fallen hero.
Here is where the addition of the writer James Ryan comes into play. Ryan is a talented sports writer who gets wind of the story and looks to help out Ribeiro.
The book also works partly as a personal journal for Ryan who documents his numerous conversations with Ribeiro, WEC president Reid Harris, Black House’s Soares and so forth.
Another major part of the story is the addition of Wills brother, Wladimir Alves.
Wladimir is the man who Harris and Soares paint as a real bad person in the beginning through their telephone conversations stating that he is the reason they have cut ties with Ribeiro and implying that he was taking money out of the pocket of Ribeiro.
James spends time speaking with Wladimir and Will and gets the full story behind Black House.
I got my copy of the book a few nights ago and literally didn’t stop reading from the moment I began.
Whether you are a fight fan or not, you will be touched by the story of Will Ribeiro. From his struggles with a rough childhood, the loss of his parents and his horrific accident, he has been to hell and back and is still going.
You can pick up your copy of the book today here.