Flamengo 2023

Crossing the lines between soccer and UFC
Rodrigo Trindade
Flemengo flag flies at stadium by Rodigo Trindade, October 18, 2023. Public Domain.

Drama is not uncommon in sports, but recently Brazilian side Flamengo has been taking things to a whole new level. The notorious Rio de Janeiro-based soccer powerhouse is accustomed to making headlines for its success on the field but recently has seen those headlines become about what happened behind the scenes.

A season that was projected to be one of the greatest in the team’s history quickly became one of the most disappointing as the team lost all seven trophies that they were competing for this year. The result of such a disastrous season has been mounting pressure–from fans and pundits and is probably one of the main causes of all the violent occurrences involving the team and its staff.

The sequence of surreal events began with coaching staff member Pablo Fernández punching team star Pedro in the face. Fernández is reported to have slapped the striker in the face three times before landing a full knuckle punch which led to players jumping in and separating the fight. All of this happened in the locker room after a Flamengo win and one can only wonder what would have happened if Flamengo lost.

The next unreal occurrence occurred not too long after when Flamengo’s training ground witnessed players Gerson and Varela trade in their cleats for boxing gloves as an on-the-field altercation became something similar to a UFC main event. The fight which resulted in Varela getting his nose broken resulted in the Uruguayan having to wear protective mask during his next game. 

As if these brawls weren’t enough, the club vice president Marcos Braz decided to take it upon himself and outdo all of his constituents by getting into a fight with a fan. During an unexpected encounter at the mall, Marcos reportedly found himself in a heated dispute with a Flamengo ultra. Ultras are hardcore fans who are notorious for stadium fights and renounced for their fanatical support for their club. The result of the altercation was the vice president biting the fan’s inner thigh.

As the disappointments keep coming Flamengo’s rollercoaster of crazy events shows no sign of stopping. Elimination after elimination, the pressure grows and grows. Fans and pundits alike are left nothing but to wonder when the next cataclysmic event will be.     

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