Retired Strikeforce, Bellator and PRIDE competitor Evangelista ‘Cyborg’ wants to give back to his home town of Rondonopolis, in Mato Grosso, Brazil. The longtime mixed martial artist hung up his gloves in 2016, after a career that spanned over 19 years. He faced some of the most notable names in MMA, including former UFC champion Mauricio Rua, former Strikeforce champion Nick Diaz, and former Bellator champion Gegard Mousasi, among many others.
One of Evangelista’s most valuable possessions did not come from any of those bouts, though. Instead, it’s a bit of memorabilia from his PRIDE FC victory against Yosuke Nishijima—back in September 2006. In the bout he scored a rear-naked choke submission and was awarded one of the promotion’s notable massive trophies. Now he’s auctioning off his award on the internet, in order to raise money for families in need back in Rondonopolis.
The auction, still live on Ebay, will remain active until tomorrow, May 1. The bidding started at $1,000, and currently stands at $1,150 as of the writing of this piece.
In an interview with Combate, Evangelista described the levels of extreme poverty facing Rondonopolis, and why he wants to something in order to help those in need. Although he’ll end up giving up a piece of his MMA legacy in the process, Cyborg believes it’s the right thing to do.
“It’s like Napoleon Hill says: ‘Every adversity carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.’ That got me thinking when I was driving through some of the poorer neighborhoods, where I saw too much poverty, houses made out of wooden boards, out of tarp, filled with people who can’t leave their homes. It’s too much poverty. If only I were wealthier, which I’m not. So I saw this opportunity to auction my trophy and raise awareness to the government. I’m sacrificing an important title for the community’s sake. It’s time to fill some bellies. It’s for a good cause.”
With this initiative, Evangelista also hopes other fighters can raise money from auctioning fighting items they have lying around their houses, in order to help other communities in need.
“There’s a lot of stuff that is just lying around, gathering spider webs. You don’t even use them anymore, don’t even know where they are. It could be some trunks, gloves you wore in a title fight. Things that can mean a lot to fans, and it helps those in need. I hope it translates to other sports, not only MMA, but soccer, too. I hope this makes athletes want to auction [them]. If you don’t want to or can’t auction, at least try to raise awareness. It could be a ball from some championship game, an important jersey. I believe that I can motivate people in some way. Our poor communities don’t need just our pity, but action and solidarity.”
Evangelista Cyborg (21-18) retired from MMA on a two-fight losing streak, with defeats in Bellator to Saad Awad and Michael Page—back in May and July of 2016, respectively. The 42-year-old’s last win came in April of the same year, when he submitted Brennan Ward with a heel hook.