FOXSports It took Rousimar Palhares just 31 seconds to finish Mike Pierce by heel hook in Brazil on Wednesday night, but his decision to hold onto the submission for a moment longer while continuing to torque his opponent’s knee has landed him a lifetime ban from the UFC. UFC president Dana White promised after UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. Shields ended on FOX Sports 1 on Wednesday that the promotion would be handing down some sort of punishment for Palhares after he held onto his submission after his opponent already tapped out. This isn’t the first incident like this for Palhares, who was suspended for 90 days following his heel hook submission win over Tomasz Drwal at UFC 111 when he again failed to release the hold after the referee stopped the bout and his opponent had given up. The heel hook is already considered one of the most dangerous moves in the submission world because it can shred an opponent’s knee or ankle in just a matter of seconds if applied correctly. The move is sometimes even banned from grappling competitions because of how devastating it can be to someone’s leg. On Thursday less than 24 hours removed from the event, White determined his punishment for Palhares and released the news while doing a special interview with ESPN. White decided to release Palhares from the UFC while issuing a lifetime ban for the fighter, saying he will never compete in the Octagon again. Palhares’ UFC career ends very unceremoniously after his latest actions in the Octagon with the apparent disregard to his opponent’s health when holding onto the submission after the fight was already stopped. Add to that, Palhares tested positive for elevated testosterone in his previous bout against Hector Lombard last December. The ban will commence immediately and Palhares will be released from his UFC contract. He exits the promotion with an 8-4 record overall. Palhares now joins a small list of fighters that have been blacklisted by the UFC including former welterweight knockout artist Paul Daley, who was kicked out of the promotion after punching Josh Koscheck after the final bell in 2010. Nate Marquardt was also banned from the UFC after testing positive for elevated testosterone just 24 hours prior to his bout against Rick Story in 2011, but he earned his way back and will actually compete at UFC 166 next weekend against Hector Lombard. As of now, Palhares hasn’t made a statement about his release.
I am shocked, I was not even expecting to see Rousimar Palhares suspended after his submission win over Mike Pierce last night, let alone hear that Palhares was banned from the UFC for life. A heel hook can be a devastating submission that can easily injure the opponent who is trapped in the hold, Palhares is probably the best in the world at leg locks, he has submitted many opponents with them and he should have broke the hold earlier. He did hold onto the hold a little too long, and Mike Pierce was pissed about it, but I did not think that main ting the submission was egregious by Palhares. I understand that this is not his first incident, that he has been suspended in the past for not breaking holds after an opponent has submitted before, and I think this ban had a lot to do with his track record. Palhares had a dangerous opponent beat with a lot of time left in the first round, if he breaks the hold too early he could easily end up losing the fight, he has to be sure that the referee is seeing his opponent submit before he breaks the hold. Again I do not think that Palhares should have been suspended at all, let alone hit with a lifetime ban, but you be the judge:
The referee jumped on top of Palhares once Pierce started to tap out, he did hold the heel hook for a beat too long, but did this really deserve a lifetime ban from the UFC? I understand that he could easily put an opponent’s career in jeopardy by holding onto a heel hook after his opponent submitted, I am just not sure he understood that the fight was over, and he had to be sure. Many opponents do not want to fight Palhares, his leg locks are too dangerous and if he tears up an opponent’s knee and sidelines them for a year, he is taking food off of his opponent’s family’s table. Palhares is a liability.
The good news for Palhares is that Bellator is taking all of the UFC castoffs, and Palhares will likely be heel hooking people in Bellator by next weekend, he will fit right in with the rest of the former UFC names who are landing in the upstart promotion.
UPDATE: I have watched this video more times tonight than I care to admit. When I watched it live last night, I thought Palhares held the heel hook a little too long, just to make sure the referee knew that the fight was over. When I wrote the above article I had not rewatched the fight enough, but now I see that Palhares held the heel hook far too long, and the referee basically needed to break the hold for Palhares to release. Palhares is basically like an anaconda, he gets ahold of his prey, and he squeezes until it stops struggling. It is only a matter of time until he ends an opponents career, I probablly would have suspended him for a year, but I get the ban for life. Palhares is a liability, he’s going to put a fighter on the shelf of end their career, and someone is not going to be able to feed their family. He needed to go.