Another late reaction due to the day job, but I wanted to jump on this topic before everything about it has been written. 48 hours removed from UFC Fight Night 29 finds MMA fans in a bit of a blur after the fallout from fight night and just a week before Cain Velasquez takes on Junior Doe Santos.
And, speaking of late reactions, most of the ruckus comes as a result of one man’s actions: Rousimar Palhares.
Ask any UFC fighter about Palhares, and two words are usually brought up: “leglock” and “dirty.” It’s not that Rousimar’s finishing move (be it a heel hook or knee bar) is necessarily dirty (though many times, leg locks are prohibited moves in jiu jitsu tournaments). However, it doesn’t take much torque from a leg lock to ruin someone’s career. And Palhares, whose history for holding on to submissions has been well documented, once again went to the well, snatched a leg, and held on to a leg well after his opponent submitted via taps… like 8 taps… like Mike Pierce might as well have been spelling out “I submit” in Morse code for all of the tapping he was doing to alert Rousimar he had cried uncle.
The fight itself lasted a mere 31 seconds. I had predicted a Mike Pierce decision win, but many had Rousimar winning by the exact method he did. The sad part is there was a line on whether or not Palhares would also do something “weird” in this fight because Palhares has a track record built on odd, and dirty, behavior.
To say that there is something a little off with Rousimar Palhares is like saying severe rectal itch is only a little annoying.
In a fight with Dan Miller, he stopped fighting in mid round thinking he had won the fight and jumped on the octagon cage to begin a Hulked-out celebration. Only, the fight wasn’t over. The referee had to call him down from the cage to inform him he hadn’t won just yet, and the fight had to continue.
When fighting Nate Marquardt in Austin, in mid-fight, Palhares attempted to call time out to the referee to tell him he believed Marquardt was greasing. Only, there is no time out in MMA, and Marquardt belted Palhares in the face for his troubles.
While these moments are mostly comical, the real pox upon Palhares’ house comes from his repeated attempts at ending people’s careers by extending a submission past the point where his opponent gives up. Here’s a brief glimpse of the dirt:
For those viewers tuning into Fight Night 29 to see an MMA fight for the first time, they might not see the big deal. After all MMA is a violent sport. The thing is, the tap is a universal sign for submission. The agreement is once a person taps, the fight ends. No muss, no fuss. Sometimes, a person doesn’t tap out quickly enough and there are tears and breaks to the anatomy. But when a person does tap, it should only take the one time. Without that in place, this ceases to be a sport and it’s simply a fight, and in a fight anything goes. And then where’s the line?
But is that enough? Shouldn’t he also be banned from the promotion as was originally reported? Should other promotions follow the UFC’s lead and bar him? The UFC is considered the major leagues for MMA. The fighters on the UFC roster are the best of the best. What happens to his next opponent who may not be the same caliber of fighter? What if Palhares goes and fights for Bellator or a regional promotion, and someone else gets hurt. When does it stop?
I don’t know Rousimar Palhares from a ham sandwich. He may be a terrific guy outside of the cage, but his reputation as a dirty fighter is one that should cost him his livelihood. It may be cold to say this, but why should fans, fighters, or promoters care about the man’s ability to make a living when Rousimar himself is so cavalier about his opponents’ wellbeing that he is willing to risk their health and impact their ability to make a living?
- UFC Fight Night 29: What We Learned from Rousimar Palhares vs. Mike Pierce (bleacherreport.com)
- Dana White Says Rousimar Palhares Is ‘Done’ in the UFC (bleacherreport.com)
- Rousimar Palhares to Receive Additional Punishment for Unsportsmanlike Conduct (bleacherreport.com)