Rousimar Palhares’ UFC career has come to an abrupt end this evening less than 24 hours after he earned a 31 second submission victory against Mike Pierce in his welterweight debut.
Palhares failed to let go of his fight-ending heel hook submission for several seconds despite the fact that Pierce was frantically tapping and the referee was physically intervening which provoked an angry reaction from all quarters of the MMA community.
In the immediate aftermath of the event Palhares was punished by being refused the $50,000 ‘Submission Of The Night’ bonus despite being the only fighter to have won by submission on the night, but Dana White warned there would be further punishments to come for his “unsportsmanlike behavior” and it’s now emerged that the Brazilian has paid the utlimate price for his transgression.
“@danawhite tells me on @ESPNOlbermann that Rousimar Palhares is banned. won’t ever fight for UFC again…” ESPN reporter Jeremy Schaap revealed on Twitter today, a message that was then retweeted by White himself.
And so, just like that the 33 year-old’s 8-4 UFC career is over. On one hand it’s a great shame as Palhares is a talented fighter with a remarkable ability to catch opponents in an array of devastating, fight-ending leg locks, but it’s also understandable that the UFC wouldn’t want to have someone in the organization who’s repeatedly broke the rules and put his opponents health at risk in the process with seemingly no remorse.
Prior to his UFC career Palhares already had a bad reputation for not letting go of submissions, getting into trouble twice for doing so during BJJ tournaments.
It was a trend that continued inside the Octagon, tapping out Tomasz Drwal with a heel hook submission at UFC 111 in 2010 and then refusing to let go for several seconds afterwards despite his opponent appearing to be agony.
That disturbing moment of madness resulted in Palhares being suspended for three months, but last night’s incident indicates that he’s just not willing or able to learn from his mistakes, and so it left the UFC with a difficult decision to make.
It’s perhaps a decision that was made easier by the fact that Palhares had also tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone in his previous fight with Hector Lombard back in December, backing up the idea that he’s just a loose cannon who refuses to play by the rules.
It should also be noted that a precedent for this ban was set by the UFC before when Renato ‘Babalu’ Sobral was banished from the promotion back in 2007 for intentionally refusing to let go of a chokehold against David Heath.
It’ll be interesting to see where Palhares ends up next. Despite his reputation being tarnished I suspect that the likes of Bellator will still be eager to capture his signature given that it’s rare that a quality fighter with a reputation as a proven finisher coming off a win becomes available on the market.
Bellator have already shown a willigness to pick up controversial fighters who’ve been shunned by the UFC like Paul Daley, War Machine, Lavar Johnson and even the aforementioned ‘Babalu’ Sobral, so it seems they are happy to hit the gamble button these days as they try to build their ratings on Spike TV.
It would definitely be a risk though as despite everything that’s happened there’s every chance that Palhares may yet do something abhorrent like this again in the future.