The only caveats to the signing of Palhares are: one, he is currently under a two-year suspension handed down by the Nevada Athletic Commission, and two, he is still under contract with WSOF, despite the suspension. The latter being what could be the most troublesome for Palhares’ hopes to fight at Venator FC 3 on May 21 in Milan, Italy.
While Venator president Frank Merenda announced that Palhares has been scheduled to fight Emil Meek for his promotion’s welterweight championship on May 21, WSOF president Ray Sefo indicated to MMAWeekly.com that Palhares is not free and clear to fight anywhere outside of World Series of Fighting, suspension or no suspension.
Sefo said that not only would Palhares be violating his Nevada suspension, but he would be in violation of his WSOF contract. He stopped short of saying what the promotion was willing to do to enforce the contract.
Merenda doesn’t appear too worried, however, tweeting, “That fight will be awesome. Let WSOF tryin to grab some money going into a favela. It’s not USA guys and yankees aren’t welcome.” Apparently, he’s not too worried that WSOF will have much luck trying to stop Palhares from fighting in Italy. “I’m quite sure that WSOF has other things to do instead of harrassing and patronizing @ToquinhoMMA.”
For his part, Palhares’ manager, Alex Davis, told MMAFighting.com that they consider the fighter’s WSOF contract null and void.
“They trashed Rousimar in public and then went against him in front of the commission,” said Davis. “They can’t use him for the next two years. He needs to feed his family. And they have been notified by our lawyer as to why the contract is no longer valid. If they want, they can take it up with our lawyer. But from our perspective, the contract is expired.”
How the situation plays out remains to be seen, but it’s clear from Davis and Merenda’s comments that they believe Palhares will be fighting in Milan come May 21.