Jefferson Roger Maciel Barata, an Uber driver and teacher, has confessed to killing BJJ coach and UFC veteran Rodrigo “Monstro” De Lima in Brazil. Brazilian media outlet UOL broke the news that Barata had been arrested and pled guilty this weekend after being caught on tape plowing down De Lima in a senseless act of violence last weekend.
Barata told police that while he had indeed intentionally hit Monstro, he had not intended to kill the man. The driver, who reportedly had been punched by De Lima during their heated exchange, apologized to De Lima’s distraught family, saying that he only meant to “scare” him.
“It was time for me to stop the car and I saw the first punch coming in. I took a punch in my head, in my face, in my jaw,” said Barata. “I was emotionally shaken and I thought, ‘Well I’m going to scare him.’ I came back just to give a scare. I never imagined that it would take the life of somebody. ”
TMZ reported the death of Monstro earlier this week, back when Barata was still just “accused” of being the one to kill his passenger. According to accounts out of Brazil, Barata picked up 26-year-old black belt Monstro and friends in Belem. The group had only been driving a short while when the martial artist and driver got into an argument because Barata, also 26, asked his passengers to lower their voices and stop using bad language.
“I thought [fighters] had discipline,” said Barata. “I am an evangelical Christian, and profanity is not part of my dictionary.”
When his riders began to argue with him, Barata pulled over and ejected Monstro and friends near a gas station. He says that this is when De Lima began dealing blows, causing him to drive away.
Barata then doubled back for his “scare” and plowed the vehicle into Monstro from behind before fleeing the scene. The fighter, who is survived by his wife and two young children, later succumbed to his injuries.
“I’m sorry for his family. I’m sorry, I’ve already apologized to God,” Barata said. “It was one of the things I feared most: to take the life of somebody.”
Uber announced it had fired Barata and was cooperating with police a few days later after the attack was reported.
Monstro was 9-3-1 at the time of his death. He left the UFC in 2015, going on to fight for Shooto Brazil. He posted frequently to social media about loving his family, training, and jiu-jitsu.
Barata is expected to be charged with murder.