by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Renato “Babalu” Sobral could face fines, suspensions, or possible release after his antics at UFC 74 that also forced the Nevada State Athletic Commission to withhold his $25,000 fight purse after his victory over David Heath.
After a weigh-in that saw both Babalu and Heath exchanging words, it was the Brazilian who came out on top in the fight, but his refusal to release the choke that ended the fight when referee Steve Mazzagatti stepped in may cost Sobral more than just a paycheck.
As Babalu wrenched in a tight anaconda choke on his opponent, David Heath tapped out and immediately Mazzagatti swooped in to stop the bout.
Sobral did not release the hold and even when Mazzagatti tried to force him off his opponent the former #1 light heavyweight contender did not let go.
In his post fight interview with color commentator Joe Rogan, Babalu admitted he held onto the choke to “teach him a lesson” after they exchanged words at the weigh-in.
Immediately after the bout, the Nevada State Athletic Commission held up Babalu’s fight purse of $25,000 pending further action that may come down.
MMAWeekly spoke to Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer about the incident and he advised that they did hold the $25,000 win bonus from Sobral after the fight pending further investigation.
When MMAWeekly spoke to Kizer he had just received a tape from Zuffa with the footage of the Sobral/Heath fight. Kizer said after he reviews the film, he would then make a decision whether or not to file an incident report against Babalu for his actions.
If the incident is filed, Babalu will face a possible fine or suspension from the commission, although according to Kizer, he isn’t likely to seek a suspension at this time.
Kizer did state that he spoke to Babalu and his manager after the fight and they advised him that from dealing with past experiences, a fighter should not release a hold based solely on his opponent tapping out. Although in this instance, it was clear that he held on past the time when referee Steve Mazzagatti tried to get him to release the choke and Babalu also referenced such in his post fight interview.
“I’ve got an issue with that,” said Kizer regarding Babalu’s post fight behavior.
In the post fight press conference, UFC President Dana White also had harsh words when asked about Babalu’s actions during and after the fight.
“What Babalu did was real bad,” said White. “It will be interesting to see what the commission does. I am not happy about it. If you have an arm or leg of somebody in a submission where somebody seriously injures somebody, you’ll never be back in UFC again.”
Heath’s manager, Scott Newell, spoke to MMAWeekly on Monday and confirmed that Heath is more upset with his own performance and the Nevada State Athletic Commission will deal with the situation in whatever way they see fit.
Babalu has been in a rough patch lately after his knockout loss to Jason Lambert at UFC 68. He was then arrested in Florida for misdemeanor charges of trespassing and battery.
This latest episode may cost Babalu not only his fight purse withheld by the athletic commission, but also fines or suspensions from the UFC and as mentioned by UFC president Dana White, a possible expulsion from the organization altogether isn’t out of the question.