Rousimar Palhares’ Manager: He Doesn’t Really Grasp It


When it was announced that longtime UFC competitor Rousimar Palhares was released following his late release of a heel hook that forced Mike Pierce to tap at last night’s UFC Fight Night 29, not many were surprised. After all, Palhares was denied the submission of the night for a move that would have been spectacular had he played by the rules.

It wasn’t the first time that “Toquinho” had put his opponents in harm’s way, and with a dangerous arsenal of leglocks being his main weapon, there’s no  room for error there. Dana White had simply seen enough.

Palhares’ manager Alex Davis met up with MMA Fighting today to address the situation, detailing the myriad of emotions present:

“He’s perplexed. He doesn’t really grasp it. He doesn’t really understand that he’s doing something overly wrong. He doesn’t get it. It’s very sad for me,” Davis said. “I understand the UFC’s perspective. They have to do what’s in their best interest. I get Dana White’s perspective. I think it was a bit radical, but [Palhares] has done this before. First of all, we’re going to figure out what the problem is. This kid is not a mean kid. Everyone who is with him loves him to pieces. We’re going to try to figure out why this happens. Why does this kid do this [expletive]? Why doesn’t he just stop?”

It’s definitely unfortunate if Palhares truly doesn’t believe that he’s done anything wrong by tweaking career-threatening hold after his opponents have already given up. He may not actually want to hurt his opponents, but the fact remains they re in danger in that situation.

Davis seems to think Palhares has some kind of problem that needs addressing, so if that’s the case, hopefully gets the help he needs. However, his next fight will be in another promotion as last night’s antics got him banned for life. Is Palhares fully to blame for his indiscretion, or should he be forgiven somewhat?

Outer Photo: Jason Silva for USA Today Sports

  • Wow, a fascinating and refreshingly honest perspective from his manager.

  • Im going to reply with the risk of sounding like an unsympathetic jerk but, "Is this guy that damn stupid? That damn primitive?" Does he not understand how painful and dangerous it is to increase pressure on dangerous joint lock to the point people scream in pain?
    Perhaps the guy is deaf. I just dont get it… Maybe someone needs to put him in a heel hook and have him scream in pain for 30 seconds!

    • Again it's not the scream that stops the fight it's the ref. Even taps don't ebnd a fight, the ref has to call it and jump in. These locks are instantaneous and he is the best at them, if you get caught you may get hurt. I hope we aren't all hoping the ref can stop a KO when he sees a punch that could potentially KO someone and end the fight.

      • Verbal tap? ref fighting to save the guys leg?

    • I think he has a bad history and has done some bad stuff in his career concerning subs but this last one I disagree with.

      • This was the wrong example to get rid of him on. I would have been okay on some other ones but to me he cleaned up his act with this one.

    • If i rocked up to Palhares's training gym and was asked if I wanted to roll on the mats with him I would be running for my life….imagine guys who have trained with this mindless neantherthal.

  • WTF? Paul Harris??

    • Its a running joke around here man. The name sounds exactly like they spelled it. Now you're on the inside of the loop man.

  • I would like to hear Royce Gracie's thoughts on this issue,

    • Royce was mean as hell also, he brought hate to the octagon on a regular basis.

      • Royce also tested positive for roids but some guys get idolised while others get persecuted….

  • I agree when they cut Babalu for holding on too long. He was a mean bastard and actually meant it but Palhares? Damn it. Such a nice guy and such a heartwarming story of going from nothing to fighting in the UFC. I remember in an interview he talked about how BJJ pretty much fed his family and got him out of poverty and it's devastating that it has to be this way. It's understandable, they don't want to risk him hurting somebody but he's a good guy. This kinda stuff isn't supposed to happen to the good guys.

  • Goodbye Paul Harris… The UFC made a great decision on this one. Palhares does this in BJJ tournaments as well, watch the match with one of the Avellan brothers, he cranking outside of the zone after it's been completely stopped!! The guy is a roided danger and lusting to ruin other athletes' careers inside a company like the UFC is totally and completely unacceptable. Period. If he "didn't mean" to hurt anyone, he would stop repeatedly doing this with leg locks and knee bars, the nastiest of all submissions. The guy is a beast and has crazy talent, but a true professional sport will look past this and honor the ethical behavior of its athletes above everything else. It a good message to send overall, especially after already receiving a first warning.

  • Well done Dana. I suggest you watch rousimar palhares vs david avellan. Gave me the impression that palhares is just plain stupid.

    • another good example is his early celebration in fight with dan miller

  • Some guys just don't know how to use the "off" switch in their head. We had a guy on our high school football team who would go 100% in practice and hurt people, even after the coach told him to stop. He was a talented player but got cut because of it.

    I find it hard to believe that Palhares doesn't 'understand'. Maybe if someone leg locked him and tore his knee apart he'd get it.

    • Don't get leg locked is probably his motto.

  • It seemed to me that he started letting go of the hold when the ref came in. I watched it a few times, I don't see this as another Babalu situation. He did not ignore the ref. It's not his fault if the ref was not able to step in faster to end the fight (I actually don't think the ref could have been much faster).

    Come on Dana, did you have to cut the guy? It should be clear cut that a fighter ignored the refs instructions to stop a fight before you do that. He's the solution, ASK THE REF!

    Hey Mike, any way that you can make contact with the ref? It would be great to hear from him about this.

    • You see, when somebody wildly taps and on top of that verbally submits, then you let go. Everybody knows that, who has been on the mat. No matter if it's judo, bjj, submission wrestling or sambo.There is a good reason why beginners are not allowed to use heel hooks and knee bars or even something like neck cranks. Honestly, heel hooks and knee bars are- the- meanest and most dangerous techniques, so they require THE highest responsibility. A responsibility palhares has not shown. Ever. Ask how he fucked up Drwals knee…

      • Is that in the rule books? Let go if he screams and taps? I am pretty sure the rules state only the ref can end the match. I've seen guys tap and the ref didn't see it while the victor lets go and the ref tells them the fight must continue cause the guy who tapped said he didn't. If you don't like fighting and risking it according to the rules then don't fight.

        • hey falcon,

          check out entity's comment below. what does a fighter then stop from violently ripping at limps and joints? we are not talking about the common "tap or snap" situation.

          you don't crank subs to the max in a second, because skill and common sense tell you not to. especially with knee bars and heel hooks. so the answer IMO is somewhere in the middle and not as black and white as you assume. things look different when you fight in the streets, but in a regulated fight it is totally out of bounds when you go beyond the max while the ref already intervenes. this makes people react about palhares. this is another level of fighting i personally only know from the streets.

          i can hold and control a heel hook at max in a rough pre-fight sparring session, so why can't palhares as a well experienced pro? and i can understand the argument that fighters misuse a not seen tap, but then it is the refs fault. That stuff rarely happens, so why should fighters have their limps regularly crippled? because some brute wanted "to be sure the ref sees it"?
          and about the rule book you mention , yes, common sense acts as a kind of unwritten law/rule book. at least for grapplers.

          people will limp with a walking stick for the rest of their lives or/and be unemployed, if someone like palhares jumps out of the grid just because he has no common sense left and interprets his actions within the margins of the rule book. his actions might be logically correct and strictly followed also be legal, but they are ethically completely worthless.

          I'd rather fight in a vale tudo match on a short notice , injured and two weight classes above mine, than fight a guy like palhares in a regulated bjj match. take a look how P. compares the case with yum yum kim's knockout. seriously, i don't wonder, why some comments on the net mention that this was a display of "mentally ill" behavior. i wouldn't agree on this one, but martial artists, especially those on the ground, have to have control over their actions at all times, otherwise their skill is completely useless and in the ring without value.

          thankfully the royce gracie days of nasty extra pain are long gone where bjj guys could pull unknown techniques off and get away with it.

  • The guy uses leg locks cause he knows how painful they are. And when his opponents are in pain, they tap which signals the end of the fight. What's not to understand.
    We've seen numerous guys stop the fight on their owns when they know their opponent is done so the ref is the one who stops the fight excuse is BS.

    Imagine this guy getting a hold of someones leg & Steve Mazzagatti was the ref…..

    • Namba…

      Does he use leg locks because he knows how painful they are, or could it possibly be a strategic decision to concentrate 80% of his strength and focus on one area, in the knowledge that a specialist will beat a good all round fighter if the specialist is able to exert his game plan.

      Brock Lesnar was a great example of a one trick pony, who was able to defeat much better fighters because they didn't have an answer to his size, strength and wrestling ability… Frank Mir being the victim.

      … Then of course, Brock was exposed to a highly mobile, extremely aggressive and equally good ´wrestler called Cain… All of a sudden Brocks route one game plan could no longer work.

      On a personal note, in one fight I threw my opponent (a Shotokan Black Belt)- (who had been v disrespectful prior to the fight), I transitioned to a scarf hold and begun to soften him up, prior to submitting him… he asked me to stop.

      I stopped, helped him up and apologized for a late punch I landed. Within five minutes he started telling me that it was a fluke, I got lucky, he wasn't quite prepared etc…

      So we fought again (double or quits), this time I fractured his orbital bone with an overhand right, once again he said "stop, that's enough"… I helped him up… he continued to be disrespectful.

      I told my coach about this after the fight, he looked at me with a smile and asked me, "would he have done the same for you", no, I replied… "did you earn his respect", no, I replied… What's the lesson I asked? If someone is a verbal bully and does their best to dominate you, and you have the chance to finish them… finish them everytime, because they'll only come back for more.

      As far as Palahares goes… I can't understand him, I don't want to hurt the person I'm fighting (I think that's disgusting), I simply want to knock them out, help them back up and buy them a drink afterwards. It's not personal, it's chess with muscles.

      Dana got this one right.

    • They take a risk stopping at their own discretion as the ref is the only legit stop. Sure some guys are nice enough but what about guys like Dan Henderson who throw the extra punch?

  • Something has to be addressed. For those of you saying he should crank until a ref stops it, whats to keep a fighter from instantly snapping limbs, and saying "well the ref didnt stop it soon enough even though he screamed"?

    • Frank did it to Nog, Dan threw an extra punch on Bisping who couldn't even scream for help. Snapping limbs is part of the sport, if you can't deal with the possability then don't fight cause it may happen.

  • When this happened to Drwal, the excuse was the language barrier, now the excuse gets lamer by saying he just doesn't grasp it?? Let's face it, Paul Harris wants to hurt people, plain and simple.

  • I watched the footage again and have even less sympathy than before. He's actually still cranking it farther after the ref dives in.

    He's either a sadist, mentally challenged or both.

  • There is a small documentary on Palhares life and training…..if you watch that you will see how nice and lovable he really is…..he has a legion of fans here in Brazil and is really loved by the jiu jitsu community…..He made a mistake…he is a simple minded fellow but he is a great guy… you Toco!!!

    • This isn't the effin special olympics; Palhares is a clown, moron, cheat and fool.

  • Strong words from behind a keyboard……and I guess you know him personally to have such a strong opinion….I am guessing you told that to his face given such hate…..

    • I would tell him to his face but I don't speak idiot; his career would be well deserved to be over at this point.