Diego Braga, Ex-MMA And BJJ Black Belt Competitor Murdered By Drug Gang
On the evening of January 15, 2024, Diego Braga, a 44-year-old retired MMA competitor and coach, was savagely killed in Rio de Janeiro. A drug gang murdered him while he was attempting to retrieve his stolen motorbike. Diego Braga first stepped into the mixed martial arts arena in October 2003. He was a professional MMA competitor who participated in 32 matches over his 16-year grappling career, facing off against top-tier athletes such as Charles Oliveira, Adriano Martins, and Milton Vieira.
He got his retirement in 2014 and began mentoring young athletes in the favelas. Braga also coached his son Gabriel Braga, a gifted MMA competitor who received the PFL featherweight title in 2023. The news of his father’s demise was confirmed by Gabriel on Instagram:
“I have no words to describe the most incredible father and friend in the world that I had, You will always be in my heart, and I will continue to honour you until the end, with eternal gratitude for everything. One day, I will hug you again; take care of me as you always did. I love you.”
Braga’s motorcycle was robbed from his garage at 3:00 am on Sunday. The following morning, he posted a video on Instagram showing two robbers stealing his bike the previous night. Braga moved alone into a shantytown in the western district of Itanhangá, Morro do Banco in Rio de Janeiro, in search of his stolen vehicle. He located his bike, but while attempting to retrieve it, he was caught by a narcotics gang, Camando Vermelho, under the leadership of Pedro Paulo Guedes. The gang misidentified him as a paramilitary soldier combating drug smuggling.
Tauã da Silva, a member of the gang, is alleged to have murdered Braga. Post the homicide, Silva fled to evade the police but was caught by the Capital Homicide Police on Tuesday. They also managed to recover Braga’s motorcycle. Silva admitted to his crime.
Another UFC combatant, Anderson Silva, honored Braga through a post on Instagram:
“A hard-working guy who, like many others, chases his dreams, bought his motorcycle with his effort, which was stolen, and had his rights violated. While those who have the power to change or normalise violence act as if they could do nothing, for them, it’s just another statistic. But this same violence that you fought so hard ended up taking your life, leaving a huge void in our hearts. You have left an indelible mark on our lives, inspiring us to be better at fighting for a future in which violence does not dictate our destiny. Diego, my brother, your memory will forever be a beacon for all who remain. See you one day, brother.”
The Brazilian MMA Federation also posted their sad feelings on the sudden demise of Diego Braga:
“You will always be remembered whenever we raise our Brazilian flag, master. May god bless the Braga family. Our deepest condolences. Rest in peace, maestro.”