World Series of Fighting President Ray Sefo made waves last week when he signed embattled contender Rousimar Palhares, who was cut from the UFC after torqueing a heel hook on Mike Pierce at UFC Fight Night 29 in September.
Palhares was understandably excited at the news but he’s not completely out of the woods just yet. A former fighter himself, Sefo knows the dangers of being careless with submission holds. He recently met up with MMA Fighting to detail how they are handling the signing of “Toquinho:”
“I was one of the first people that actually said the same thing, that I wasn’t interested because, again, this is a sport and I don’t want to see anybody get hurt badly or get paralyzed from that because of some silliness. But after listening to Renzo Gracie, who is a master of jiu-jitsu, and what he had to say about that particular incident, there’s been discussions and dialogue going back and forth between our matchmaker and his team and (coach Antonio Rodrigo) Nogueira.”
“I will not tolerate any of that nonsense that happened before. If it happens again, he’s gone. It would be silly for it to happen again, because I’m pretty sure if he does it here, then he won’t have anywhere else to go. But again, Nogueira and the team have given us their word that things will be good from here on in, so we’ll wait and see.”
Some strong words from the president, who is understandably cautious about his new star. Having former Pride Heavyweight champion Nogueira on board to assist Palhares is a step in the right direction. “Big Nog” has never been regarded as anything less than a classy fighter and should be instrumental in helping Palhares manage his negative tendencies.
But Sefo also makes a good point when he says that if it happens again, Palhares won’t have anywhere else to go, because he simply won’t. Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney expressed absolutely no interest in signing Palhares so any similar indiscretion in WSOF will undoubtedly see Palhares blacklisted as a fighter.
“Toquinho” recently made the drop down to welterweight after getting knocked out by Alan Belcher and Hector Lombard at middleweight. He has a great chance to resurrect his career against a crop of top shelf WSOF welterweight talent in Steve Carl, Jon Fitch, and Josh Burkman.
That’s a huge opportunity that many still feel he doesn’t deserve in the slightest. What is your take on the subject? Will Palhares put his opponent-injuring ways behind him and rise to prominence in a new promotion? Or will he continue to crank lethal leglocks until he’s cast out of MMA for good?