All signs appear to be pointing to the fact that World Series Of Fighting welterweight champion Rousimar Palhares could well be stripped of his title later this week after his latest controversial victory against Jake Shields on Saturday night.
As we reported yesterday, Palhares was up to his old tricks at WSOF 22 as he held on to a fight-ending kimura submission against Shields long after his opponent tapped and even for what was no doubt some excruciatingly painful moments after the refree also told him to stop.
Palhares was awarded the victory inside the cage, but backstage his win bonus was withheld by the Nevada State Athletic Commission pending an investigation and WSOF boss Ali Abdel-Aziz told the media that he would be looking into the matter himself.
“You have to understand, I’m the guy who f**king stood up for him,” Abdel-Aziz stated. “I don’t know if you remember or not, but I’m the guy who said, ‘you know what, I’m going to sign him.’ If I go back on tape and watch that f**king fight tomorrow, and if I see Palhares held too long, and did the eye poking a couple times, he might be stripped of the title. And Jake Shields would fight the winner between (Yushin) Okami and (Jon) Fitch for the title, and I would suspend [Palhares].”
Abdel-Aziz has since had a chance to review the footage, and his conclusion does not appear to bode well for Palhares.
“Watched the fight with Shields & Palhares,” Abdel-Aziz wrote yesterday on Twitter. “Palhares did gouge Jakes eyes & held the sub longer than needed. Ray will make announcement Tues.”
It’ll be interesting to see just how far WSOF are willing to go now. The promotion needs fighters like Palhares that people want to see, but at the same time it’s abundantly clear that he’s a loose cannon.
Stripping him of his title, issuing a suspension and dishing out a fine would put a band-aid over the problem for now, but the overwhelming evidence over the years suggests it won’t fix the problem.
Palhares has already been thrown out of the UFC for similar actions which resulted in a wave of negative publicity and widespread condemnation from his fellow fighters, and even faced suspensions and reprimands years ago in BJJ tournaments where this behavior first manifested itself, yet nothing appears to have gotten through to the 35 year-old.
This isn’t an issue that’s going to go away and it appears to go beyond just a fighter with a temporary disciplinary issue as Abdel-Aziz himself seemed to recognise in the aftermath of Saturday night’s show.
“I like Palhares, I think he’s a nice guy, but I think he has problems,” Abdel-Aziz said. “I think he has problems, and we had an amazing event, and he didn’t have to hold. He didn’t have to hold at all because he won, he tapped him. Let him go. Let the guy go.”
The latter part of Abdel-Aziz’s statement also appears to offer up the only solution to the Palhares problem. He is simply too much of a liability in this sport to be allowed to compete again, so WSOF, and indeed the sport of MMA as a whole should let him go. Let the guy go.