Jon Fitch: If asked, Rousimar Palhares would be the first time in my career I turned down a fight Oct 12, 2013
Recently victorious UFC Fight Night 29 welterweight Rousimar Palhares has been making headlines recently for all the wrong reasons. “Toquinho” was released from Ultimate Fighting Championship following his first round heel hook victory over Mike Pierce this past Wednesday night (Oct. 9, 2013) in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Palhares was the only competitor to win by submission on the card but was denied a $50,000 “Submission of the Night” bonus because he held onto a heel hook well after not only Pierce had tapped but even once the referee intervened.
It was not Palhares’ first offense either, as he had been suspended previously by the New Jersey State Athletic Commission for holding onto a heel hook against Tomasz Drwal well after the fighter had tapped and he was also most recently coming off a nine-month suspension for having elevated testosterone levels in his middleweight fight against Hector Lombard in 2012.
Considering the fact that the Brazilian was coming off a rare win heading into his UFC release, he’d seem to be a hot commodity on the free agent market, most notably for promotions like Bellator MMA or World Series of Fighting, but that is not the case.
In an exclusive sneak peak of an upcoming feature interview with top World Series of Fighting welterweight (and former top UFC welterweight) Jon Fitch, the long-time veteran showed zero interest in competing against the dangerous leg lock specialist.
“It was a second offense,” said Fitch. “Holding onto a submission too long, especially with a joint lock like that. You’re talking about ending someone’s career potentially. I think it was the right move (to release him). I personally wouldn’t accept a fight with [Palhares] because of those. One time maybe, but not twice. I would never even compete against him honestly. If he’s got that long of a history of holding onto them too long, his career should probably be done because no one should take a fight with him or a grappling match with him for that matter.”
Palhares’ inability to let go of dangerous leg locks dates back well before his UFC career as well as in non-MMA bouts like his 2011 ADCC grappling contest against David Avellan. When asked what he would do if World Series of Fighting signed “Toquinho” and attempted to promote a fight against Fitch, the American Kickboxing Academy fighter had a simple response:
“It would be the first time in my career that I turned down a fight.”
Brian Hemminger has been involved in MMA since 2007, and is highly regarded for his well-researched and knowledgeable interviews. He has hosted The Verbal Submission MMA podcast for three years and was a staff writer at MMAmania.com from 2011 to 2013 with an extensive background in live coverage, fight previews and post-fight analysis.