And now, he finds himself without a job.
The fight was brief, but when Palhares submitted Pierce, it appeared that he held onto the heel hook well beyond the point that Pierce tapped out and even beyond the point that the referee stepped in to stop the action.
Palhares on Thursday, despite the outcries, said that there was no intent to injure Pierce.
“I never meant to hurt anyone, as a jiu-jitsu fighter I always seek for the submission, but I would never be evil to any athlete,” he wrote on Twitter.
“I always respect the @ufc decisions, but most of most I respect a lot Mike Pierce, so again I never meant to hurt him, just finish the fight.”
That won’t stop UFC president Dana White, who was chief among those critical of Palhares’ actions, from firing him.
“This is the second incident with Palhares where he had the lock and he didn’t let go, finally he let it go, but I’m gonna cut him too,” White told Olbermann host Jeremy Schaap in an interview on ESPN2 on Thursday. “He’s done.”
The first incident that White referred to was when Palhares did the same thing, not immediately releasing the hold, when he finished Tomasz Drwal at UFC 111 in Newark, N.J. Palhares was subsequently suspended for 90 days by the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board.
The Brazilian Athletic Commission (CABMMA) is currently investigating Palhares’ finish at UFC Fight Night 29, but regardless of their findings, White is already handing him his walking papers.