Rousimar Palhares got back into the win column in his welterweight debut last night at UFC Fight Night 29 by submitting Mike Pierce with one of his trademark heel hooks in just 31 seconds, but he's now lost his job doing so.
Check out the video of Dana White breaking the news to ESPN's Jeremy Schaap:
The impressive victory was almost certain to lock up a “Submission of the Night” bonus. But as is the trend with many of Palhares’ fights, there was some controversy. Palhares didn’t receive the award because he held onto the heel hook for an extended amount of time. It looked like Pierce tapped repeatedly before the hold was released.
Palhares has been suspended for this before against Tomas Drwal, and the UFC doesn’t take potential unnecessary injuries to it fighters lightly. UFC international executive Marshall Zelaznik was on hand at last night’s event to clarify the situation, stating that Dana White wasn’t happy with the situation:
"The commission is investigating the length of time he held that submission, so, we're pending that investigation and we're not actually issuing a 'Submission of the Night' bonus.... There has obviously been a bit of history with 'Toquinho' where he has held some submissions in the past -- he has had some controversial issues surrounding his submissions. Dana reacted very strongly to it, and a lot of the executives in the company and the commission reacted strongly to it. We've decided in the betterment of judgment to just withhold any judgment at all and I suppose that if the commission comes back with a favorable finding that we can re-evaluate whether or not an award is given. But, right now, we're not making a commitment to it."
With “Toquinho” was already on thin ice after getting knocked out in his previous two bouts and the suspension for elevated testosterone following his loss to Hector Lombard, the promotion has simply had enough of the submission whiz's antics. Palhares has been cut and banned for life by the promotion, joining Paul Daley on a short list of fighters who won't be coming back thanks to unsportsmanlike conduct.
There’s no need to put an opponent’s career in danger when he is already obviously tapping out and beginning to scream. Apparently, "Touquinho" didn't get the memo the first time he was suspended for nearly breaking an opponenet's leg; and now he's cut. After the announcement Palhares was apologetic for his actions, insisting that he never meant to hurt Pierce:
I always respect the @UFC decisions, but most of most I respect a lot Mike Pierce, so again I never meant to hurt him, just finish the fight— Rousimar Palhares (@ToquinhoMMA) October 10, 2013
Perhaps Palhares never intended to hurt Pierce; he most likely didn't. But the trend was just too disturbing to ignore for too much longer. One could argue that the ref came into play by not stopping the fight soon enough, but that hardly matters at this point. What is your take on this strange string of events?