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Alex Oliveira opens up about domestic violence accusations before must-win UFC 248 fight

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Alex Oliveira hasn't won a fight since Sept. 2018, when he beat Carlo Pedersoli in Brazil.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Alex Oliveira has finally broken his silence about allegations of domestic violence this past summer.

Nine months after he was accused of assaulting his ex-wife, Mariana Cassiano, in their hometown of Tres Rios, the Brazilian MMA fighter told MMA Fighting they never separated – and the woman is three months into her second pregnancy.

“We had an argument, she and I, like every couple has,” said Oliveira. “But I’m a famous guy in my hometown. If I threw a punch on a woman, I (would have killed her), so the story is wrong. I apologize to everyone, but it wasn’t like that, you know? They told the wrong story, and I felt really bad.”

Oliveira was accused of pulling Cassiano’s hair, punching her, and also breaking doors and windows in their house. Oliveira appeared to be under the influence of alcohol, Cassiano told the police, and he insisted on riding a motorcycle while carrying his 5-month-old son. When she attempted to stop him from doing it, she said he hit her and drove away with the child.

Precinct chief Andre Luiz Pinto Lourenco confirmed the details of Cassiano’s story to MMA Fighting at the time of the alleged incident. But Oliveira said she later changed her mind on reporting to the police.

“That was a mistake,” Oliveira said. “Neighbors called the police. I had already left. She didn’t go to the police to report; she was taken there. She didn’t want to, you know?

“I’m a famous guy, so it’s easy to come at me. But nobody knows the whole story. But we’re together, yes, and she’s pregnant again, thank God. We’re very happy. Like a normal family. I’m happy because she’s the woman I love. She’s always been by my side. She’s the love of my life.

“With everything that happened, she’s been by my side the entire time while our family – both my and her side – judged us, so we shut the doors to everyone and lived our lives. We’re very happy. I tell her how happy I am. I have no words for this woman. She’s the kind of woman that every man would like to have.”

MMA Fighting was unable to reach Cassiano for comment.

Oliveira, who has nine other children from previous relationships, declined interviews ahead of his previous UFC bout in September. He said he still felt bad about the incident and didn’t like to talk about it. But he agreed to clear the air before his upcoming contest, a welterweight clash with Max Griffin at UFC 248 on Saturday.

“She saw what happened, I felt bad,” he said. “I’ve been through so much. I didn’t want to talk about it, but thank God everything is fine now. I apologize to my fans. It won’t happen again.”

Olivera’s octagon return comes with high stakes following losses to Gunnar Nelson, Mike Perry and Nicholas Dalby. “Cowboy” said he knows he can’t make mistake because his job is on the line.

“Everybody sees it – if I make a mistake, I’m out,” Oliveira said. “I’m not used to making mistakes. It’s the first time in my career that I’m on a three-fight losing streak, but that phase is in the past, you know?

“It’s hard ... 2019 wasn’t good. I’m more mature now, I’ve learned with my mistakes and trained harder. I can’t make mistakes. I spoke with my master, (who said), ‘One mistake and it’s over, I’m out,’ so it can’t happen again. I’ll start 2020 with the right foot and leave 2019 behind. I’ll show everyone I’ve changed for the better.”