Mixed martial artist Rousimar Palhares was permanently banned from the UFC following an incident at UFC Fight Night 29. Palhares had secured the fight-ending heel hook, but refused to let go of the submission after his opponent, Mike Pierce, tapped out several times.
The referee had to step in to pull Palhares off of the submission and that was all it took for the Brazilian to receive his lifetime ban.
Palhares is no stranger to holding on to submissions too long, but his latest example has been the most costly. Not only was Palhares let go from the top promotion in the world, but he forfeited his $50,000 bonus for Submission of the Night.
After the incident, Palhares’ camp came forward to deny any malicious intent saying that it is pure instinct.
“We have talked about it at length,” his manager Alex Davis told MMAJunkie.com. “The one thing I can certify is that Rousimar does not hold on to a sub out of malice. It’s unconscious, a mix of adrenaline and years of being conditioned to not let go.”
“I can attest to the fact that Rousimar is a very simple, humble and well-meaning person. This is not malice but instinct, nature of the beast.
“That said, we need to keep on working on it. Rousimar used to hurt people in training, but he has become very controlled now. Now we need to work on the fights, work on keeping him conscious rather than just automatic.”
“It might be hard for people to understand that don’t know Rousimar personally, but I’m telling you, he holds on out of instinct. He only realizes it afterward.”
“These guys are in the zone. To me, it’s pure instinct.’
Davis did say that he understands the UFC’s decision and he will work with Palhares to figure out what the bigger issue may be.
“It’s very sad for me. I understand the UFC’s perspective,” he added. “They have to do what’s in their best interest. I get Dana White’s perspective. I think it was a bit radical, but he has done this before.”
“First of all, we’re going to figure out what the problem is. This kid is not a mean kid. Everyone who is with him loves him to pieces. We’re going to try to figure out why this happens. Why does this kid do this s—? Why doesn’t he just stop?”
Whether or not it is just instinct, this is something that can’t happen on the sport’s biggest stage and Palhares has been given more than enough opportunities.
The good news is that he is talented enough that he won’t struggle to find a new home.