Sensationalism over the tragic downfall of a champion is not the preference. Journalism should aspire to a higher standard. By now it's hardly breaking news that BJJ Champion, Leandro Lo has had his life ended.
After an altercation outside of a nightclub in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the 33-year-old jiu-jitsu black belt was shot in the head. The news of his passing quickly made its way around the internet.
The details surrounding his passing are still unclear, and what is known has been pieced together from various eyewitness accounts. What is certain is that Lo was shot in the early hours of Sunday morning, at the Clube Siria, (sports and social club).
Iva Siqueira Junior, lawyer of Leandro Lo explains that the attacker approached them and began making aggressive expressions.
The attacker was pinned “to stop the situation and avoid a fight” as Siqueira describes. As things seemed to have calmed down, they encouraged the attacker to let it go and leave in peace. But rather than de-escalate, the assailant went for his gun and began firing.
As mentioned earlier, the shot hit Lo’s head. This resulted in the tragic end of a life of a Jiu-Jitsu great, multiple-time world champion. The BJJ community mourns the loss of one of its most celebrated athletes.
Reporting on the passing of a public figure, especially in the manner of Lo’s passing, is a delicate task. The line between informing the public and exploiting a tragedy is a thin one. It’s a balance that all too often is not respected.
In the case of Leandro Lo, his passing was used as click-bait by various jiu-jitsu websites and portals. The tragic events were used to drive traffic to their sites, in some cases using gruesome photos of Lo’s body. This is not what this piece is intended to do. Instead, it is a call for more responsibility in the way we report on such events.
It's rumored that the attacker was a purple belt himself and a law enforcement officer. With protests erupting in Brazil at police stations over the shooting of Leandro Lo, the story continues.
It's unclear if justice will be served but what is clear is that Brazilian jiu-jitsu lost one of the greats. His passing has shaken the community but his legacy lives on.
Rather than being divided by the tragedy, it's important to be supportive of one another. Although martial arts has its roots in competition, at the end of the day, we are all practitioners of the same art.
We should all strive to uphold the values that Leandro Lo embodied: kindness, respect, and a never-give-up attitude. These are the values that made him a champion on and off the mats.
“You made me feel like the most loved mum in the world … I will miss you forever.” - Fátima Lo (Leandro Lo's Mother).
This article is in tribute to Brazilian submission grappler and 3rd-degree black belt: Leandro Lo (11 May 1989 – 7 August 2022). If you would like to donate please visit BJJFanatics.com.
Your donation will help Leandro's family build the "The Leandro Lo Institute". To continue Leandro's Dream, a non-profit organization will be established to educate and inspire Brazilian children.
Through the next generation, they will continue Leandro's vision of social inclusion, using Jiu Jitsu as a tool to engage and empower underprivileged children.