If controversial fighter Rousimar Palhares brings any unsportsmanlike conduct into the World Series of Fighting cage, he will be fired.
WSOF President Ray Sefo said on Tuesday that he has a zero-tolerance policy regarding Palhares and the fighter’s now-infamous habit of holding submissions for too long.
“I will not tolerate any of that nonsense that happened before,” Sefo told MMAWeekly.com on Tuesday. “I’m pretty sure if he does it here, he won’t have somewhere else to go.”
Palhares made headlines after holding a leg-lock submission on Mike Pierce for what many said was too long at a recent UFC card in Brazil. The action was deemed unsportsmanlike by UFC officials, prompting company president Dana White to ban Palhares from competing in the Octagon ever again. Additionally, Palhares received a 120-day suspension from the Brazilian athletic commission.
Sefo explained that he was initially hesitant in signing Palhares to a deal. After discussions with the likes of Renzo Gracie, the UFC and MMA legend who reportedly defended Palhares for his actions, and dialogue with the fighter’s teammate, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Sefo said he changed his mind.
Ultimately, Sefo’s decision to follow through with signing Palhares came down to a combination of Gracie’s positive feedback and Nogueira’s insistence that the troubled fighter is seeking help for his problems.
“I was one of the people that said the same thing, that I wasn’t interested,” Sefo said about signing Palhares. “I don’t want to see someone get hurt … because of some silliness.
“Nogueira gave me his word that [Palhares] is looking into getting some help.”
Sefo added that Palhares understands “100 percent” that if he conducts himself in the WSOF similar to the way he did in his last UFC fight, the company will separate from the fighter.
Palhares is tentatively expected to make his WSOF debut in March, Sefo said, but no opponent has been selected as of yet.
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