Back in 2004, Rafael dos Anjos made his professional MMA debut in Juiz de Fora, Brazil. dos Anjos lost the fight via split decision to Adriano Abu. Shortly after the fight, Abu decided to step away from MMA to work as a prison guard in order to stay close to home.
10 years after his fight with dos Anjos, there was a prison riot. Abu, who is widely respected by both the prisoners and guards, was off duty at the time, but headed to the prison to help with the situation.
He spoke to MMAFighting to recall the situation:
“I got there at midnight, the situation was out of control, and backup wouldn’t get there until the next morning,” he says. “It was ugly. I got all the agents together and told them what to do, how to get in, how to use the shields. ‘If someone jumps in, you know what to do.’ My group came in and we were able to end it without anyone getting hurt. It was beautiful.
“I reached out to one prisoner and he said ‘Abu, you’re a fighter and all that, you know that our situation here is horrible. We want to talk to a judge.’ I asked them if they were coming out, and he wanted to know if I guaranteed they wouldn’t get beat up. I was a fighter, so they thought we were going to beat them up when they left. I told them no one would get hurt, and they agreed to leave. I believe my training in martial arts, and God, helped me control that situation.”
On July 7th when Rafael dos Anjos squares off against Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight title, Abu will be cheering for his former opponent:
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“I root for him. He got to a place I could have gotten too, but I’m happy with my decisions. Every time I see him winning, I know that could have been me.”