UFC Champion Cris Cyborg visits Youth Correctional Facility in Portugal to speak to the kids

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Currently in Portugal as part of a European media tour that has been cut short thanks to Cyborg accepting an event saving Main event fight at UFC 222 against Russian standout Yana Kunitskaya for March 3rd in Las Vegas, Cris Cyborg took time out of her schedule to visit the Youth currently incarcerated at the Centro Educativo Da Bela Vista facility in Lisbon Portugal.

The facility houses minors both male and female who have come into trouble with the law.  Individual crimes housed in the facility vary greatly, but includes serious offenders like robbery, assault, and theft.

Speaking to the youth, Cyborg gave her own testimony sharing her faith in Jesus and how it is possible to over come mistakes and still achieve great accomplishments in life. Citing her doping violation in 2011, Cyborg shared a very personal story with the kids housed in the facility about never giving up, learning from their mistakes, and overcoming obstacles to still achieve personal goals they set for themselves.

Following the conversation, Cyborg opened the floor for questions, sharing many intimate details of her own life and career in a very candidate interview.  The Centro Educativo Da Bela Vista facility is home to a martial arts program which includes traditional Brazilian Capoeira taught by one of the on site counselor and administrators.  At the conclusion of the visit, Cyborg surprised everyone as she had the group form a circle before participating in a Roda De Capoeira with many of the youth housed in the facility participating in the program.

While Camera’s are not allowed for the youth living in the facility, Cyborg posed with each student and the director took photos which will be presented to each kid once they are granted release from the facility.  Cyborg went on to share her personal contact details with them, encouraging them to contact her once they have reformed and completed their terms.

Speaking directly to reporters Cyborg had this to say of the experience “I think for me to go talk to the kids was something new for me. I was very nervous because speaking to them is a big responsibility.  With each experience I feel like I am getting more comfortable with being able to break the ice and relate to them.  These kids are seeking attention, and it is my chance to put a seed of positive growth into their heads.  I told them it doesn’t matter what they have done to get here, because I am not here to judge them. Nobody is perfect, after everything happens we all need to try to do better and improve our lives.  One day some of these kids will make a difference, they can be champions in life, and I hope that the words I spoke today can motivate one of them to realize this.  Being a champion doesn’t mean holding a belt inside the cage, it means making a difference in the lives of people everyday”

Cyborg who is set to head back to California Monday to finish her preparation for UFC 222 left a big impression on many of the kids inside the facility, and they will no doubt remember this experience for a long time to come.

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