Controversial former UFC fighter Rousimar Palhares has finally found a new organization to call home with the World Series Of Fighting.
Palhares was released from the UFC back in October after holding onto a heel hook submission against Mike Pierce even after his opponent had tapped and the referee had called an end to the fight.
It was the latest in a series of similar unsportmanslike incidents featuring the dangerous submission expert and proved to be the final straw for the UFC.
Initially it looked as if Palhares actions were going to make it difficult for him to continue to compete at a high level, with both Bellator and World Series Of Fighting indicating that they wouldn’t be looking to sign him due to the danger he posed other fighters with his inability to follow the rules.
WSOF president Ray Sefo had a change of heart though and yesterday declared that, “Rousimar is one of the most talented athletes in mixed martial arts, and we’re excited to have him as a part of our organization,” in an interview with MMAJunkie.com.
Controversy aside, Palhares is a quality fighter with an overall 15-5 career record and held an 8-4 record inside the UFC’s Octagon with six of those wins coming by way of submission, so it’s understandable that he’d be an attractive proposition for the WSOF who’s roster is on the thin side.
It’s a big gamble though. Palhares’ issues with refusing to let go of submissions have been a fixture of his career, and not just inthe UFC – having had similar situations in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournaments and even with his own training partners at times.
The 33 year-old was also suspended from the UFC last year after being found to have elevated levels of testosterone, adding a further black mark to his record of conduct.
If the UFC couldn’t get him to change his ways then you have to wonder how WSOF are going to fare any better. This would appear to be the last chance saloon now for Palhares though and after the backlash he’s received over his most recent transgretion, perhaps there’s hope yet that he’ll see the error of his ways.
One man he does have on his side is Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira who has vowed to take Palhares under his wing and train him for his next fight.
World Series Of Fighting will have an immediate headache with the signing of Palhares as one of their most high-profile welterweights, Jon Fitch has previously stated that he would refuse to fight ‘Toquinho’.
There are a few other fighters on the welterweight roster who’d make worthy opponents for him though, including recently crowned 170lb champion Steve Carl and a string of other former UFC fighters like Josh Burkman, Gerald Harris and Aaron Simpson.