Brazilian leg-lock specialist Rousimar Palhares couldn’t have been any more dominant at UFC Fight Night 29, forcing Mike Pierce to tap like a madman 31 seconds into their fight.
Unfortunately for Rousimar Palhares, many decided to focus on the fact he might have held on to the fight-ending heel hook a bit too long, ignoring the fact “Toquinho” literally walked right through one of the toughest guys in the UFC’s welterweight division, a man who led his own against high-caliber opponents like Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck, and Johny Hendricks — who is currently the number one contender in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s welterweight division.
Eager to appease the mob, UFC president Dana White announced the Brazilian has been banned for life for the infraction, as if the $50,000 Palhares lost out on when the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s officials refused to give him the “Submission of the Night” award — even though he had the sole sub of the night — wasn’t enough to send a strong message to the Brazilian, who has maintained his stance that he didn’t have any malicious intent at UFC Fight Night 29.
“I just waited for him to tap,” Palhares told reporters after the fight. “I locked the position and looked to the referee to see if he saw he had tapped. He tapped, I let go.”
A replay of the fight clearly show Palhares released the heel hook about 1.3 seconds after the referee jumped in.
Rousimar Palhares had more to say when he found out about his release and lifetime ban.
“I never meant to hurt anyone, as a jiu-jitsu fighter I always seek for the submission, but I would never be evil to any athlete,” Rousimar tweeted. “I always respect the @UFC decisions, but most of most I respect a lot Mike Pierce, so again I never meant to hurt him, just finish the fight.”
Unfortunately for Rousimar Palhares, rational thinking is quite rare among MMA fans, so most would rather repeat whatever comes out of White’s mouth.
Just like that, the man who put on the most dominant performance at UFC Fight Night 29 is now banned from the world’s premier proving ground for MMA fighters for life. Say goodbye to a potential fights against the likes of Demian Maia, Carlos Condit, and perhaps even Georges St. Pierre.
Don’t feel too bad for Palhares though. He made his own bed with his past infractions against guys like Tomas Drwal (UFC) and David Avellan (ADCC). It’s just sad to see him punished so severely the one time he really wasn’t being overzealous with his submissions.