Hillary Williams defeated Carol DeLazzer last Sunday and won the brown/black belt division of the world championship for the first time, but didn’t have long to celebrate. The reason being the loss of her friend, a blue belt under Roberto Cybory, during the black belt finals. The new champion put her lament into words for GRACIEMAG.com, as you can read below.
For many, the Mundials last Sunday will be remembered as a day of triumph and rejoicing, as a day of beating the world. For anyone who met Peter Bivona, it will forever mark a day that the world lost a friend.
A blue belt under Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu, the ultra-heavyweight had muscles on top of muscles, was tattooed from shaved head to toe, and drove a Hummer big enough to fit his personality. He was large, loud, and never failed to make his presence known. But give him ten minutes and you would find one of the kindest, most genuine people you’d ever meet.
Since the day he took up Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, he was an example of loyalty and sacrifice. Peter was the first to offer to drive someone to the gym or tournaments. If you were fighting there was no doubt he’d be in your corner. If you were flying into the Miami airport, Peter would be there waiting on you. And if you tried to stop during training, he’d be the first to push you to get up one more time.
It is said that what we do for ourselves dies with us, and that we do for others and the world remains and is immortal. That is what Peter did. There’s not a person that Peter met in his life that can’t think back about him and smile, there’s not a person who knew him that isn’t better because of it.
Although he struggled with nagging injuries, it was Peter’s dream to fight in the World Championships. Friday, he got his chance. The match did not go his way, but that didn’t stop him from pumping up every other member of his team, myself included. He believed in us more than even we did, lending us his invaluable strength.
Peter was hospitalized with pain Sunday morning and passed away during the black belt finals. He wasn’t there to watch his coach, mentor, and best friend Cyborg beat the 2009 world champion. He didn’t sit next to us for the spectacular come-from-behind triangle in the semifinal. But where ever he was, we all know he was cheering the loudest. We love you, Peter.