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Uber driver arrested for killing former UFC fighter Rodrigo de Lima

Rodrigo de Lima scored a submission victory in his last MMA bout, in June 2018.
Natalino Werneck, Shooto

Uber driver Jefferson Roger Maciel Barata has been arrested and has confessed to killing former UFC fighter Rodrigo de Lima in a hit-and-run incident in Belem last Saturday night, Brazilian website UOL reported Friday.

In his statement to the police, Barata, who started working as an Uber driver five months ago, says he was punched by de Lima after asking him and three other people inside the car to bring the tone of their voices down.

After de Lima and the three other left the car, Barata drove away. Instead of reporting the attack to the police, Barata says he decided to come back and “scare” the MMA fighter, but claims he had no intention to kill de Lima.

Barata will be charged with murder. UFC welterweight Michel Prazeres, a longtime friend and training partner of de Lima — and also a police officer in Belem — confirmed the news to MMA Fighting on Saturday morning.

“I’ve always thought of a way to raise my family and not let my children grow up without a father,” Barata said, according to UOL. “I feel for his family, I regret it, I’ve already asked God for forgiveness. It was one of the things I feared the most: Taking someone’s life. I started working in this job to have more time in the church, I became a director for the youth, teaching music in the church, and this ended up happening.

”I’ve asked God and his family for forgiveness. It wasn’t my goal to take anyone’s life. I’ve never done anything bad to anyone. Today (the 26th) was going to be my wedding. I was going to start a new life, and this happened. I’ll pay for what I’ve done, and I regret it deeply. I ask his family and friends for forgiveness.”

Rodrigo “Monstro” de Lima (9-3-1), who competed twice inside the Octagon between 2014 and 2015, against Neil Magny and Efrain Escudero, fought for the last time in the co-main event a Shooto Brazil card in Rio de Janeiro last June, submitting Luiz Fabiano.

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