MMAJunkie Rousimar Palhares walked away from his fight with Jake Shields with just 30 percent of his potential pay and could face disciplinary action following his controversial submission win at this past Saturday’s WSOF 22 event. Palhares (18-6) earned just $23,975 of a possible $80,000 purse for his second WSOF title defense after the Nevada State Athletic Commission elected to withhold his $40,000 win purse pending a review of the bout, which ended in the third round when Shields tapped to a kimura. An additional $16,000 was also subtracted from the Brazilian Palhares for taxes and the commission’s new anti-doping statutes, which require that 10 percent of a fighter’s purse is withheld pending the results of drug testing, NSAC Executive Director Bob Bennett told MMAjunkie on Monday. Bennett added Palhares was tested pre-fight via urine for banned substances and the results should be available shortly. (Shields and co-main event fighters Marlon Moraes and Sheymon Moraes also had 10 percent of their purses withheld.) Controversy arose when Palhares appeared to torque Shields’ (31-8-1) arm well after being instructed to stop by referee Steve Mazzagatti. He was also repeatedly warned for eye-gouging in the second round. WSOF officials said afterward that the Brazilian champ’s belt could be stripped. After the fight, Shields, who was seen on camera complaining to Mazzagatti about the gouging, punched Palhares after the referee broke them up. Shields cursed Palhares after the two were restrained. NSAC Executive Director Bob Bennett on Monday told MMAjunkie that he’s requested a copy of the bout from the WSOF and will afterward make a recommendation to the full commission on what should be done about the incident. He said the commission could take disciplinary action against the fighters, but declined to elaborate citing possible litigation. Bennett also said he’ll also review the behavior of Shields, though he declined to directly answer when asked why none of the ex-Strikeforce champ’s pay was withheld. “We’re considering all the options that are available to us based on the actions of both fighters at the end of the fight,” said Bennett. “Prior to the fight, he was given pre-fight instructions by Steve Mazzagatti because we were well aware of his history in extending the submission once the fighter tapped out.” Palhares was cut by the UFC in 2013 for holding a heel hook and was suspended by the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board in 2010 for the same behavior. He denied wrongdoing on both occasions. Palhares’ longtime manager, Alex Davis, said Shields’ actions were worse than Palhares and said the veteran should be reprimanded for punching after the bell. “I thought Jake Shields put on a great fight, but I think the rest is overblown,” he wrote in an email to MMAjunkie. “I didn’t see any eye-gouging. Rousimar has his hands on the face to push away and escape the position. I think Jake Shields was simply whining too much about the supposed eye-pokes and Mazzagatti was influenced by his complaints. “The damage around Jake’s eyes was caused by the strikes he took on the ground. As for the submission, Mazzagatti was simply too far away when the submission was applied, and he was in the wrong position to stop the fight. The referee needs to be in front of the fighter, otherwise, that fighter has no idea who is tapping on him.” Shields on Monday told MMAjunkie forwarded a picture of his swollen eyes taken on Sunday. He said his shoulder was “a little messed up” from the kimura, but added he didn’t think it was serious. He was adamant, however, on what should be done about Palhares. He wants both the WSOF champion and referee Mazzagatti banned for life from MMA. “One guy is a sociopath, and Mazzagatti is incompetent to ref,” Shields said. Despite his wish, Shields was ambivalent about a rematch with Palhares. He couldn’t say with certainty that he didn’t want one and left the ultimate decision about the champ to the WSOF. “That’s a tough question,” he said. “It is a guy I’d like to fight the guy. I really don’t like the guy. But I’d be really careful as to who is reffing. I’d make sure the ref is completely not going to allow eye-pokes.” WSOF matchmaker Ali Abdelaziz could not be reached for comment, but President Ray Sefo said Monday afternoon that he was about to head into a meeting about the situation and expected a decision by the promotion by the end of day. A press release is expected for Tuesday, he added.
How much longer are opponents going to take fights against Rousimar Palhares? It’s well known that Palhares may be the most dangerous submission artists in the world, but he is notorious for fighting dirty, and hanging onto submissions for too long causing injuries to opponents. Jake Shields was dominating Rousimar Palhares during this fight, and out of frustration, Palhares repeated gouged Shields in the eyes. Referee Steve Mazzagatti repeatedly warned Palhares to stop raking Shields’ eyes, but inexplicably did not take a point from Palhares, and after watching the fight there is no doubt Mazzagatti should have at least taken points from Palhares and disqualified Palhares if he kept using this illegal technique. The evidence is on Jake Shields’ face in the picture above, by gouging at Shields eyes Palhares could have cost Shields a lot more than the fight, and eye rakes are banned because they can deal life altering permanent damage. In the third round, Palhares finished a vision impaired Shields with a kimura, which he held onto after Shields was clearly tapping. Palhares has a history of this, but in his defense it took referee Steve Mazzagatti seemingly forever to get there, and knowing Palhares’ history Mazzagatti should have been on top of the action. Some in the MMA world are calling Jake Sheilds a sore loser, however after watching thefight several times, I think that his gripe is legitimate and both Rousimar Palhares and Steve Mazzagatti need to be disciplined for their negligence. I’m not sure who will ever take a fight against Rousimar Palhares after this incident, not only is he the most dangerous leg lock submission artist in the world, but he hangs onto submissions for too long and rakes eyes out of frustration when he is losing a fight. Fighting this guy can take food of your family’s table, and ruin your quality of life long term, and those are two risks that very few fighters will be willing to take.