Last night at UFC Fight Night 29 in Barueri, São Paulo, Brazil Rousimar Palhares secured another impressive heel hook submission victory over Mike Pierce. While that is great, Palhares flagrantly broke both official and unofficial rules of mixed martial arts by not only holding a dangerous submission for an extended time, but increasing the torque on the hold after Pierce tapped out. The ridiculous part about the incident is that this is not the first time Palhares has done something of this nature in the Octagon. Between the Brazilian’s suspension due to elevated testosterone and other incidents, it is time the UFC cuts ties with the Brazilian.
It is no secret that Palhares is a one-trick pony with his devastating leg attacks that can easily leave a man crippled. While the threat of injury is a given with the nature of the sport, MMA is dangerous enough without someone maliciously trying to cause injury outside the legal boundaries of the sport. Leg attacks have a high likelihood of causing major injury whether they are properly applied or not, hence why they are banned in many grappling organizations until you reach a high level. So when someone, who is an expert, applies a leg lock and holds it after being told to stop, that is damn near criminal. It is not like Pierce’s tap was hard to pick up on as the fighter vehemently tapped and screamed in pain as the referee dove in to separate the two. The fight is over at the tap or the scream, so even if you are waiting on the referee to call a stop to it, there is no reason to increase the torque on the joint.
So why should the UFC put up with someone who has violated the rules and causes significant injury to other fighters when it is not needed? Injuries are going to happen in MMA, that is a given, but it also means that the violence needs to remain within the confines of the rules. The UFC has cut guys who strike after the bell and even winners, so why not release someone who is possibly ending careers after a fight is stopped? I am not being dramatic to suggest a career could be ended by a knee injury, there are a lot things that can cause a career to be ended/stunted if a knee injury occurs. People tend to believe that guys can always have surgery but not all surgeries are successful and there can still be permanent damage after surgery. To allow this guy a spot on the roster is an embarrassment.
Look, Palhares may have some issues and may be emotional in the Octagon, fighting is an emotional sport after all, and he may be a great guy outside the Octagon but there is no excuse for what he does. The UFC did the right thing by not giving him a bonus for his submission win but I think they need to take it a step further and release him from the organization. Suspensions have obviously not worked with Palhares, and his history both in and out of MMA point to a major problem for the fighter. Palhares is clearly talented enough to fight in the UFC but, in this case, making a statement is more important than talent or results.