Photo Courtesy of World Series of Fighting/NBC Sports
Former World Series Of Fighting (WSOF) welterweight champion Steve Carl saw his championship reign dissipate in just over a minute last Saturday (March 29, 2014) when UFC castoff Rousimar Palhares put him in a brutal heel hook to win the main event of WSOF 9 in Las Vegas (watch the full fight here).
“Toquinho” was a repeat offender for holding onto his trademark submission, and indeed many fans and media thought that he held onto a tapping and screaming Carl for a split second too long.
But Palhares was quick to defend his actions and note that he thought there was no controversy. WSOF President Ray Sefo was quick to jump to Palhares’ aid, and even Carl admitted he lost fair and square to a lethal ground wizard. To top it all off, on Monday, WSOF Executive Vice President Ali Abdel-Aziz said the fans just needed to “shut the hell up” about Palhares and respect him as champion.
Controversy or not, Carl will have to deal with the lasting effects of “Toquinho’s” expertise. The Iowa-based former champ not surprisingly received a six-month medical suspension following the event, but he posted on Facebook that he was fortunately able to avoid surgery and a potentially longer layoff:
"MRI results are in and I'm looking at a couple partial tears, severe sprains, and lots of soft tissue damage. NO SURGERY required!! Palhares gave me exactly what I needed, a vacation and tons of motivation! I'll be back and better than ever this summer, I guarantee it!"
Even with some mildly serious injuries to recover from, it sounds like Carl has a very positive attitude about the whole situation, a far cry from Palhares’ former victims Mike Pierce and Tomasz Drwal, who succumbed to finishing holds that earned “Toquinho” suspensions.
Regardless, the polarizing Brazilian mat wizard is the upstart promotion’s new champion, for better or worse. It’s hard to imagine WSOF rising to the top of the sport with their VP telling the people who make them money to “shut the hell up,” but only time will tell.
For now, the issue should probably be put to bed because Carl himself sees no issue with his loss, accepting it like a true champion who only wants to heal up and return with a renewed focus. While some still think referee Yves Lavigne had to intervene, Carl told MMAFighting.com that it all happened so fast, and the damage was already done. Still, he has no hard feelings:
"It all happened really fast, and the damage was done at that point. I got no ill will."
Carl may be out, but Palhares will move on to face former UFC welterweight title challenger Jon Fitch sometime this summer, tentatively at WSOF 12 in July. Will Fitch be the next victim of Palhares’ deadly leglocks, and what controversy will follow the new champion if he does?