Champion Hillary Williams’s lament

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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.

Hillary (in blue) against Carol at middleweight. Photo: Ivan Trindade

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.

Cyborg and Peter (right)

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There are 17 comments for this article
  1. Eliane Carotta at 5:44 pm

    One more star in the sky, and a shiny one.
    A loyal friend, that was ALWAYS there for, w/ t best words to make everybody laugh and lift our mood. He was pure life, wild, extreme, loud,…unique. I’m sure that everybody that had a contact with him will never forget… R.I.P my dear brother. Great words Hillary, you are a black belt in spirit!

  2. Randall at 5:47 pm

    Hillary,
    Thank you very much for writing this. It’s so surreal that Peter is gone. Man sometimes he would get on my every last nerve, sometimes I would laugh my ass off. Either way it was always great to have him around and I can’t imagine him not being there anymore. It was just Tuesday that I was teasing him about the botfly that was going to pop out of his head (see above pic) and he kept saying “fuck you..a ladder hit me in the head”. I even had botfly visa going on my phone for him..haha..When he left Tues night I told him to kick some ass at worlds and I couldn’t have imagined what was to come 🙁 I’m very happy that he got to compete as that is what he wanted for a long time. Peter will be greatly missed by so many. The gym and the world will be much different places without him. RIP Pete 🙁

  3. thiago thomaz at 6:37 pm

    In this transient and crazy world, full of things that need fixing, God sometimes gets overwhelmed and needs the aide of his angels.
    Sometimes even these angels can’t handle the job, and they return to the Almighty to recharge their strength! God then decides to look down
    upon his men and choose one that is the bravest, most couragest, purest of heart, with the most brilliant soul to reinforce his troops!
    This time he saw our Big dude Pete! There was no question about it, he slapped him on a pair a wings and whisked him away!
    Upon his arrival I’m pretty sure that Pete was introduced like this,…. Everyone this is Peter Bivona, he is our newest recruit brought by our Almighty to reinforce our celestial army! We’re going to assign him to our Jiujitsu Angels Battle Unit Division! Then God himself pointed to the side and there was angels Carlson Gracie, Helio, and the whole team standing proud! So Pete then responded: Look at where I am, I was called by surprise, now I’m here, so fast I didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye to my loved ones! I’m gonna follow my orders and proudly serve my new troop! However, I will only go if I can bring along my kimono with me, and of course, our other blessed tool, let’s be clear on that!
    So slamming down on the white tatami he screamed: I’M FIGHT SPORTS PORRA!

    We will love and miss you forever Peter Bivona.
    Fight Sports Family !

  4. tracey wolsko at 8:13 pm

    Peter was a long time friend of mine, as most people do they fall in and out of touch. For me it took the miracle on the hudson to reconnect with my childhood and high school friends. Peter upon learning the news of my miracle landing only had two word that summed it all up – Holy Sh&t! Classic Peter! 🙂

    It was great to reconnect with him – he was larger than life back in high school and he was the first to help anyone who needed it.

    Even in his death I can’t help but smile because I knew him!

  5. Felix Chang at 12:40 am

    Great article.. I met Peter in 2005 through my friend and from the first day I met him he was a narly dude. He was very motivated , humble and just over all a great guy. I train under pablo popovitch and later to find out peter was training under roberto cyborg and he would always motivate me and invite me to come train but because of my crazy work sched i’ll never have a chance to roll with him. Im torn of his passing and in shock. He is a warrior at heart and we’ll miss him dearly. My deepest condolences to the bivona family and the fight sport family.

  6. Jodi Petrizzo at 3:10 am

    What an amazing article.
    I was with Pete for 4 action packed years, never a dull moment with him. About a year ago we went separate ways. Never at any time I wished anything bad on him. I loved him with all my heart and many times wanted to strangle him, and then 2 minutes later wanted to hug and kiss him. He was one in a million that will never be replaced. He was a hand full thats for sure. But a heart of gold and always took the high road and a very loyal man. And always a man of his word. If you were lucky to have met his family, you would understand why he was such an amazing human being. I was lucky to have been a part of his beautiful loving family. When he entered into the Jiu Jitsu world he found a new family in addition. Jake and Marcel became our kids. And Roberto became a new best friend and Pete looked up to him in so many ways. And Roberto thank you for being so patient with him. He respects very few people. He loved each and every one of your guys he trained with. Hillary, congrats on your win. You are a bad ass bitch!! And Roberto, you deserved the Championship! Pete is proud of you and is aware of your win! As I told you, for him not to go to support you he had to have been in alot of pain. And your friendship and the extra effort you put into him was very much appreciated. He loved you like a brother dude! I heard about the Tribute that you all had for him on Tue. at the gym He was there in spirt and I’m sure was deeply touched. It sounded as a very touching ceremony. He has been involved in many different industries here in Miami, many are holding several different Tributes in his honer. Great times to share stories and photos to remember the fun, wacky, sweet times we have shared with him. He was also a bad ass DJ and producer. And music was a huge part of his life. I have had the chance to see him shine many times as the “Rock Star” DJ he was and would just kick the clubs ass. And for many of you who have been tattooed by him (and what an amazing artist he was) you now have the closest thing to a Picasso you can get. Pete (Rage) Bivona marked you for life. Be proud to wear his art on your body! He will always be with you 🙂 I thank you all and his family appreciates all the you have done for him. He posted a statement on FB before he left for California about competing in the Worlds. That he was going to bring back the gold. Or if not, he was going to die trying, and that is was in gods hands! Who would have ever thought that the statement would have came true. Pete put 100 percent into everything he did. I don’t feel as if the fight had anything to do with his death. We are still waiting for more answers. Just keep in mind that you are lucky to have known him for the time you had with him. And we will all see him again in wherever this place called heaven is. I will always love you Pete till the day I die!! & can’t wait to see you again.

  7. brandy at 10:23 am

    petey was a friend for many years and thru up and downs i always knew he had my back he will be missed by family and friends alike, RIP Pete keep kickin ass wherever you go…

  8. Giancarlo Lanzetta at 5:48 pm

    Separated by thousands of miles I was privileged to have met Peter and the rest of my extended family many years ago. It warms my heart to read how Peter affected so many, in such a positive way, and I am sure his family and friends are proud of what was truly a generous and loving soul. Rest in peace, you will be missed.

  9. Victoria Blintser Pansky at 11:27 pm

    so hard to deal with your loss, you were always such a great friend! I don’t call that many people true friends and in the past dozen years we’ve known each other, you’re truly one of the best. You’ve brightened up so many lives just by being you. As much as I’d want to be selfish and keep you to myself, it’s heaven’s turn to get much, much brighter now that you’re there! Will always love you and miss you dearly. My heart goes out to your wonderful family. RIP Pete

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