It started with a tap, moved on to a scream, then the referee jumped into the fray. It ended with one fighter grimacing in pain and holding his leg while the other knelt in the center of the Octagon while pointing skyward.
However, that wasn't really the end. The true end came less than 24 hours later when Rousimar Palhares was released by the UFC.
Many UFC fighters took to Twitter shortly after the fight ended and expressed their outrage over the length of time Palhares held the heel hook after Pierce had clearly submitted to the hold.
Following his release from the UFC it looked as if Palhares was also persona non grata with Bellator and the World Series of Fighting.
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney told TMZ that his promotion was not interested in Palhares because:
Risks already exist for the courageous, world-class fighters who enter the Bellator cage; without adding further unnecessary risks into the mix.
Fighter safety is paramount to me and my team.
His past is not good. The team and I have talked about it. He needs to probably seek some sort of help or talk to somebody, a psychiatrist or whatever, that can help him get away from hurting fighters.
Until he does that, we won't look at signing him anytime soon or anything like that.
The past that Sefo mentions includes a 90-day suspension from the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board when it was deemed Palhares held a heel hook too long as Tomasz Drwal tapped to that hold at UFC 111.
A little over a month after making that statement, it seems as if Sefo and the WSOF may be having a change of heart regarding Palhares. Speaking to MMAJunkie.com, Sefo said:
Initially, I'll admit I didn't think World Series of Fighting should even entertain the idea of bring Palhares on board. But I've been speaking with our team, as well as some people I trust throughout the industry, and I'm not so sure he doesn't deserve another chance.
We haven't made any concrete decisions just yet, but I think maybe Palhares could be a valuable part of our organization.
If Palhares does join the WSOF, and fights in the welterweight division it will be interesting to see whom they match him up against. One fighter that seems to have no interest in ever facing Palhares in that division is Jon Fitch who told Brian Hemminger:
It was a second offense. Holding onto a submission too long, especially with a joint lock like that. You're talking about ending someone's career potentially. I think it was the right move (to release him). I personally wouldn't accept a fight with [Palhares] because of those. One time maybe, but not twice. I would never even compete against him honestly. If he's got that long of a history of holding onto them too long, his career should probably be done because no one should take a fight with him or a grappling match with him for that matter.
As Sefo said, no final decision has been made by the WSOF on the signing of the 15-5 Palhares.
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