Venator Fighting Championship on Tuesday announced that it has signed welterweight Rousimar Palhares to fight at its May 21 even in Milan.
Palhares, a former World Series of Fighting champion, is the latest controversial signing by the Italian fight promotion, which also garnered a lot of attention for inking a deal with troubled UFC veteran Jason “Mayhem” Miller.
Miller has been in and out of legal trouble continuously for the past few years, most recently for suspicion of driving under the influence and a vandalism charge. While not in legal trouble, Palhares is currently in the midst of a two-year suspension handed down by the Nevada Athletic Commission for having held a shoulder-lock submission (Kimura) on WSOF 22 opponent Jake Shields well beyond Shields’ taps and the taps of referee Steve Mazzagatti, who had to forcibly pull Palhares off of Shields.
The Palhares incident in the fight with Shields was the latest in a lengthy record for having held submissions beyond what was considered sportsmanlike. He has been suspended in the past for the same transgression and was also released from his UFC contract for doing the same thing in yet another fight.
“Rousimar is a great champion who has often found himself unfairly under fire for excessive holding (alleged or real) after opponents have tapped out,” said Venator FC President Frank Merenda. “But anyone who knows him knows that he is a good guy who never wants to hurt anyone. He’s a hard worker, a serious and respectful guy, who genuinely loves the world of combat sports. Above all, he has a real desire to redeem himself in front of everyone and show that he is not the ‘monster” that everyone talks about.”
His opponent, at the Venator FC 3 card in Milan, is well known in Europe. Meeks is known for his theatrical personality, his technique, and his tenacity, which comes from an endless desire to put on a show for his fans.
“(Meeks) couldn’t wait to for the chance to face a top fighter like Rousimar, and when we offered it to him, he didn’t hesitate for a second before accepting,” said Merenda. “He is convinced that he has the technical and tactical ability to make him ‘the anti- Toquinho,’ and he wants to deliver a big upset to the Brazilian champion.”
In addition to Palhares vs. Meeks, Venator FC 3 also features Miller facing UFC veteran Luke Barnatt for the middleweight championship. The promotion has also signed UFC veterans Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou and Che Mills.