World Series of Fighting 22 went down last Saturday (August 1st, 2015) and featured an unprecedented amount of controversy in comparison to the promotion’s previous events. First off was the Diaz brothers vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov brawl, which happened during the Rousimar Palhares vs Jake Shields welterweight title fight. As the brawl spilled out in to the streets, Shields and ‘Toquinho’ ended by way of third round submission to the Brazilian.
The fight was marred by multiple accusation from Shields’ camp that ‘Paul Harris’ had gouged his eyes on multiple occasions and held the submission for too long. WSOF execs agreed, and Palhares was hit with an indefinite suspension and stripped of the title, with president Ali Abdelaziz saying Palhares “has mental problems and shouldn’t be allowed to fight until he fixes them.”
Palhares compiled a statement on his Facebook page, and it was a lot more inflammatory than you would expect a man in his position to be, check it out:
In order to keep with the Brazilian and global MMA community, the respect and transparency necessary for the full understanding of all those who, together, recognize the value of sport and tolerance that sport can provide, i come the public to recognize and clarify the questions raised on the interpretation of events that occurred in my fight against Jake Shields , last Saturday (1),in Las Vegas (USA).
First, I would like to expose my opinion regarding professionalism and fair play. Lack of professionalism and sportsmanship, for me, is when an opponent spend weeks giving statements at the media that he would try to injure me seriously at any cost. I believe that there are many ways to promote a fight, but we must never encourage violence in exchange for hatred, the world is already sick of wars. If we want that MMA become a sport, attitudes like that should be inhibited, in order to promote positive values, just as every Olympic and professional sports do.
In my design, lack of professionalism and sportsmanship was when my opponent punched me in the face purposefully at the end of the fight and threw on me objects while I was giving an interview to USA Today’s Sports staff talking about my victory. Beside that, it was unbelievable the fact that his corner tried to step in the cage to deliberately attack me.
The mix of all the martial arts that involve the MMA, often does not allow the general public to have full knowledge about the complexity of the movements we, fighters, do inside the cage. During the fight, Shields and I have been through various stages of dispute of positions while grappling.My conscience is clean that, if my fingers had hit my opponent’s eyes, at no time, was something intentional. In addition, on several occasions the Shields’s chin have hit my eyes, simply because we were competing for each space, each centimeter.
It is very common in MMA, by miscalculation that the athletes get hit by a kick in the genitals, as well as in the eye, invariably. I would like to remind you all that at any time during the fight, Shields has not requested medical assistance or a time to recover from a possible injury caused by my finger, which could have turned the match into a No Contest.
I don’t think it is right Shields justify a legitimate defeat with this argument. Every MMA athlete should know how to respect victory and defeat, instead of trying to create argumentative situations that did not have any interference in the outcome of the fight.
I have dedicated myself to a lot in training for this fight, and I wouldn’t risk anything to put in doubt my victory and my belt. I simply did my job and I finished an athlete who never in his career had suffered this type of loss. I surprised him with a kimura in a technical move, that many people did not imagine that could happen. That’s what should be exalted by the media.
Regarding to the release time of the submission, this is something I have been working hard, I’m humble enough to take on the things I need to improve. However, I understand that the referee Mazzagatti could be in a better position and had interfered in a better way to stop the fight quickly.
I’m not a malicious person, if I would, I really could had broken Shields´arm . I have enough power for that, however, within about of 1.06 seconds after referee Mazzagatti contacted me I had the reflex to release the submission and celebrate the victory. Each athlete has a different adrenaline, it is clear in the video, the reflexes movement of my body when I felt the touch of the judge on my back, I did not continue to increase pressure neither I tried to adjust the position, I simply dropped Shields arm.
I’ve been through many difficult times in my personal and sport life. I have more than 20 fights in my career, and nobody ever will show a single opponent that got his arm or leg broken by fighting me, I never finished anybody´s career due an injury. I never let anyone blind or stuck my finger in anyone of my opponent´s eyes on purpose. This is real,those are facts!!!
I do not agree with the decision to be suspended and punished with the loss of the belt, but I have to accept it. As a fighter we are subject to this when you sign a contract to participate on a show. What I cannot accept is being called a dirty fighter. In all my preparation for this fight, Shields said a lot of things about me and my family, beside the fact that he took advantage numerous times for the fact that I don’t speak English to create some animosity.
For many opportunities, people that are close to me did not speak to me about these insults, so I did not lose my focus. This kind of attitude, that sounds a dirty thing to me. To use that to promote the fight is regrettable. He already knew that he would lose and he tried in every way to offend me. In the course of our fight, I gave him all the opportunities to show his jiu-jitsu skills, but he didn’t do anything and, as always, just stalled the match.
Finally, I would like to tell Mr. Shields that he does not need all this drama to get a rematch. I accept any challenge against you Shields. This time, I won’t give you opportunities to complain, because I’m going to knock you out.