Mike Pierce: Palhares holding the heel hook so long was 'unnecessary'


Mike Pierce offers his take on Rousimar Palhares' heel hook, and why the UFC made the right call in releasing Palhares.

It's a shame that someone hasn't come up with a catchy phrase for all the fallout that's taken place surrounding the heel hook submission that Rousimar Palhares slapped on Mike Pierce at UFC Fight Night 29. The fight took place almost a week ago, and the mixed martial arts world is still talking about the hold that left Palhares unemployed and Pierce with, at the very least, a 180-day medical suspension. In the short attention span world of today, that warrants a catchphrase.

Anyway, Pierce is back in the States after traveling to Brazil last week to fight Palhares. About 30 seconds into that fight Pierce was screaming in pain, and frantically tapping anything he could in order to get Palhares to release the hold. Palhares did release the heel hook, but the general consensus in the MMA world was that he held on far too long.

The UFC agreed and released Palhares from the promotion the day after the fight. The statement from the UFC cited unsportsmanlike conduct as the reason behind Palhares' release. Palhares went 8-4 during his tenure with the UFC. During his time with the UFC, which began in May 2008, Palhares was suspended twice.

Palhares first suspension came in March 2010 when he held a heel hook too long against Tomasz Drwal. His second suspension followed his knockout win over Hector Lombard in December 2012. Palhares tested positive for elevated testosterone after that fight. The bout with Pierce was Palhares' first fight back after that suspension.

Pierce appeared on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour and offered his opinion on the length of time that Palhares held the submission and the status of his leg:

I felt it pop a couple of times, once in my ankle, and once in my knee, but the MRI is going to be the determining factor. I felt it [pop] after the ref was already on top of us and I was tapping the ref. So it was long after the fact.

I think it's pretty clear, from almost everybody looking at it honestly, that he held onto it for too long. I have no problem submitting if I'm caught and there's the potential of serious danger -- that's why I tapped to begin with, because I was caught and I wasn't getting out of it. But to hold onto it to the extent that he did, there was no need for it. It was unnecessary. I was already giving up at that point, I knew I'd been caught.

Pierce will undergo an MRI on the leg on Tuesday.

As for Palhares' release from the UFC, Pierce said he felt that the promotion made the right call. Pierce made it clear that he was not basing his feelings on Palhares' release on this one isolated incident, but on a pattern that Palhares has seemed to establish throughout his career in MMA and Jiu-Jitsu competition:

He got nailed for this in the UFC a couple of fights back. And even before the UFC there were problems with that in jiu-jitsu tournaments -- and for Murilo Bustamante to come out and say it was a problem at American Top Team, there's obviously a history of this guy holding onto leglocks and heel hooks much longer than he needed to. Whether it's intentional or unintentional, it didn't really matter.

The submission loss ended a four-fight winning streak for Pierce, dropping his career record to 17-6.

Now, about that catchphrase for this whole incident, any ideas?

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