Rousimar Palhares was recently fired by the UFC and suspended by the Brazilian Athletic Commission on MMA (CABMMA) following his win over Mike Pierce at UFC Fight Night 29 on Oct. 9 in Brazil.
His termination and 120-day suspension stem from Palhares failing to immediately release the heel hook hold that he used to finish Pierce 31 seconds into the opening round. Pierce tapped out and the referee jumped in to stop the fight before Palhares eventually released the hold.
Pierce reportedly suffered ligament damage to his left knee and ankle as a result.
Palhares was also suspended for 90 days for a similar incident following his UFC 111 bout with Tomasz Drwal. He finished Drwal with his patented heel hook, but failed to release the hold in a timely fashion.
Despite the UFC terminating his contract and CABMMA’s suspension, many in the social media sphere seemed to think a fighter of Palhares’ caliber would quickly emerge with a new promotion, but that may not happen as quickly as many thought.
One significant promotion that is taking a hands-off approach to Palhares is the MMA World Series of Fighting, whose president, Ray Sefo, said on Monday that they currently have no interest in signing him.
“His past is not good,” explained Sefo. “The team and I have talked about it. He needs to probably seek some sort of help or talk to somebody, a psychiatrist or whatever, that can help him get away from hurting fighters.
“Until he does that, we won’t look at signing him anytime soon or anything like that.”
Former UFC title contender and current WSOF welterweight Jon Fitch is in full agreement with the stance of his current employers, pointing out that Palhares’ reputation for not releasing the dangerous submission stretches outside his time in the Octagon.
Fitch said he would not accept a fight with Palhares unless he first proves that he has changed his ways.
“He would have to definitely prove that he is no longer out there trying to cripple people after the fight is over,” said Fitch.
Fitch pointed to his own teammate, Mike Kyle, who was rightfully condemned for continuing to punch and kick Brian Olsen after the referee tried to stop their WEC fight in May of 2006.
Kyle has since cleaned up his act and continued his fighting career without further incidents of that nature.
Fitch said that for Palhares, however, there is too much of a history of incidents to take the fighter at his word that he never intended to hurt Pierce, and that it wouldn’t happen again.
“For Palhares, it seems to be a recurring thing,” said Fitch. “It’s happened twice in the UFC, and in his grappling matches it’s happened a number of times.
“It’s just not what our sport is. I mean, we’re trying to beat each other up, but when somebody concedes and gives up, you don’t continue to crank on the submissions. You can end somebody’s career that way. It’s just uncalled for.”