World Series of Fighting has stripped Rousimar “Toquinho” Palhares of the franchise’s world welterweight title and placed him on immediate, indefinite suspension until all issues are resolved, following Palhares’ WSOF 22 main event title defense against Jake Shields on Saturday, August 1.
“After taking the time to review the footage from Saturday’s bout between Rousimar Palhares and Jake Shields in its entirety, we decided that stripping Rousimar of his title and issuing him a suspension until this issue is resolved, was necessary,” said World Series of Fighting President, six-time world champion and two-time Hall of Famer Ray Sefo.
“As a fighter with over two decades of ring experience,” continued Sefo, “I am always going to be an advocate for other fighters and, in this case, I feel that World Series of Fighting must protect its athletes and rules of competition by imposing swift and firm disciplinary action to address what we saw as unfair play in the cage.”
The anticipated showdown between Palhares and Shields aired live on NBCSN as part of a five-bout telecast from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.
In the middle of the second round, Palhares, after being mounted by Shields on the ground, suddenly placed his hands over Shields’ eyes and appeared to disrupt Shields’ vision.
In the third round, Palhares executed a kimura submission that prompted Shields to tap out nine times before Palhares freed Shields from the hold, as directed by referee Steve Mazzagatti.
“Because of specific instances in the past in which Rousimar had arguably held his submission holds longer than necessary in competition,” explained Sefo, “Steve Mazzagatti gave Rousimar clear verbal instructions in the dressing room, before the fight, about listening to and obeying the referee’s commands, including those about letting go of a submission hold when instructed to do so.”
As a result of what transpired in the cage between Palhares and Shields, the Nevada State Athletic Commission elected to withhold Palhares’ entire, contractual win bonus, pending a review of the bout.