The UFC released a statement following Palhares' submission victory over Mike Pierce at UFC Fight Night 29 this week, which you can watch above, revealing that the Brazilian fighter will never again compete inside the Octagon. The decision is based on repeated instances of unsportsmanlike conduct -- namely holding onto submissions well after opponents have tapped or referees have intervened.
Palhares has often exhibited bizarre behavior in the cage -- most infamously in fights against Dan Miller and Nate Marquardt -- and is notorious for holding onto submissions for too long, both in MMA competition as well as in pure grappling bouts. Palhares was suspended by the New Jersey State Athletic Commission for 90 days in 2010 for failing to release a submission on Tomasz Drwal after the referee intervened in their UFC 111 bout.
Last year following his knockout loss to Hector Lombard at UFC on FX 6, Palhares tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone.
As the culmination for all of these instances, the UFC has terminated Palhares' contract and ostensibly banned him from the promotion. The official statement is below:
As announced by UFC president Dana White, the UFC organization has elected to terminate its contract with Rousimar Palhares based on repeated incidents of unsportsmanlike conduct violating the UFC Fighter Code of Conduct and his Promotional Agreement with Zuffa, LLC.
At UFC FIGHT NIGHT: MAIA vs. SHIELDS on October 9, 2013, Palhares won his welterweight bout against Mike Pierce via heel hook submission in 31 seconds. Pierce appeared to tap several times physically and verbally and the ref intervened physically before Palhares let go. Despite being the only submission win on the card, Palhares was denied the Submission of the Night bonus. Managing Director of International Development Marshall Zelaznik announced at the post-fight press conference that the local commission would be investigating the length of time that Palhares held the submission.
The controversy is not Palhares' first: In 2010, the New Jersey State Athletic Commission suspended Palhares for 90 days following his heel hook win over Tomasz Drwal at UFC 111 for not letting go after the referee stoppage.
In 2012, Palhares was again suspended for nine months after testing positive for elevated testosterone after UFC on FX 6.
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