Despite Tragic Death of Girlfriend, Raulian Paiva Will Not Give Up UFC Dream

Raulian Paiva
Raulian Paiva Credit: rauliianpaivamma//Instagram

Raulian Paiva went from being on top of the world, a newly signed UFC fighter preparing for his promotional debut, to the worst loss of his life — this loss of his girlfriend in a senseless act of violence.

Just six days after intentionally being struck by a car following a dispute at a night club, Tieli Alves, girlfriend of UFC flyweight Raulian Paiva, has passed away. MMA Fighting first reported the news, and on Tuesday, Paiva himself spoke out about the incident, and his future in professional fighting.

News of the incident broke just last week. Paiva and Alves were on a motorcycle, leaving a club in Brazil after being confronted by two men, apparently intoxicated. After trying to and failing to provoke a fight with the athlete, the pair then chased him down in a car when the couple rode away from the scene. Striking Paiva’s motorcycle from behind while it was stopped at a light, the perpetrators fled. Paiva was left with minor injures. Alves was left in a coma. Sadly, she would not recover.

The suspects, Elber Nunes Zacheu and Johny de Souza Amoras, were arrested.

Speaking to MMA Fighting in an article published Tuesday, Paiva said that he considered retiring from fighting when he got the news. He knows, however, that such a move would not be what Alves wanted for him. He also recounted the depressing details of the incident.

”The party at the night club was over and we went to a bar nearby,” Paiva said (via MMA Fighting). “This guy started to harass her, but we paid no attention to it to avoid any confusion, I ignored him trying to grope her. Then, they started saying ‘oh, you’re the UFC fighter, let’s see if you’re good at fighting.’ I pretended I wasn’t listening. After some time, they crossed the street and kept drinking on the other side of the street.

”Some time later, they threw a beer can in my direction and some beer spilled on my face. I put my helmet on and said ‘baby, let’s get out go here because they are looking for trouble.’ As soon as I did that, they crossed the street holding broken bottles and stood in front of my motorcycle, and the guy that started it all came with a vodka bottle to hit me. A friend of mine stood between us and was hit by the bottle. I saw my friend bleeding and told a friend to call the police. When I said ‘police,’ they all backed up a bit, just enough for me to hop on my motorcycle and get out of there.

”We left, I looked in the mirror and didn’t see anyone coming after us. When I got to the red light, I slowed down, and that’s when I saw some lights in the mirror. I tried to move my motorcycle to the side so it would only hit me, not Tieli, but it hit the rear of the motorcycle. From that point on, I don’t remember anything. I only remember being on the ground and seeing her bleeding.”

”My life has no meaning anymore, really,” Paiva added, “But she always said she didn’t want to see me give up. She was very proud of what I have accomplished, she was thrilled with this fight on the Contender Series, and her parents told me that I shouldn’t give up because she was proud that I had made it to the UFC. If it’s over for me, I should fight for her, and that’s what I’m going to do.”

Upgraded charges in the case appear likely. Paiva does not have a debut set as of yet in the UFC, though that is no doubt not the most pressing thing for the fighter at the moment.