Did you hear the one about Rousimar Palhares holding on to a submission too long?

Yes, it’s deja vu all over again as Palhares has been stripped of his WSOF title, and suspended “indefinitely” — which really should result in being cut entirely. It comes in the wake of his WSOF 22 win by way of kimura over Jake Shields. Palhares can be seen eye gouging several times in the fight, as ref Steve Mazzagatti inexplicably continues to warn him but fails to deduct a point. Then, come fight’s end, he refuses to let go of the kimura despite Mazzagatti frantically tapping the fighter with both hands to signal that the fight is over.

In short, it’s another black mark on the professional record of Palhares.

This after being suspended 90 days in the UFC back in 2010, following an incident at UFC 111 where he failed to release a heel hook on Tomasz Drwal in timely fashion. Then, in 2013, he pulled the exact same stunt, refusing to release a heel hook on Mike Pierce, an act that resulted in being cut from the UFC, and banned from the promotion for life.

Now he has burned bridges in two promotions, although the WSOF haven’t officially severed ties with him. Instead, match maker Ali Abdel-Aziz stated Palhares had mental issues and shouldn’t be allowed to fight “until he fixes them.”

Well, no, short of a doctor’s note, accepting that Palhares has any sort of real mental or emotional issues isn’t even on the table. He’s simply a reckless fighter who holds on to submissions too long, and is going to hurt somebody (else). And it’s going to happen again if he’s allowed back in the cage.

See, what is left unsaid is that this isn’t even the third time for Palhares. Questions have arisen in other fights, including another fight under the WSOF banner, against Jon Fitch (who, incidentally, has not fought since that bout). Fitch blamed himself for the loss, but fans and the media debated whether Palhares was a little slow in releasing the hold. In fact, the dangerous element was almost a selling point for Palhares. Would he cross the line?

Well, we have our answer. The end result? The MMA equivalent of Jurassic Park breaking down. Another fighter possibly injured, though Shields’ biggest concern so far is his vision, rather than a sore shoulder. Regardless, injuries in MMA are common, but injuries caused by reckless behavior should not be seen as acceptable.

Now, the WSOF has to take the next step — and the MMA world as a whole must follow suit. Simply put, Rousimar Palhares should never again fight in a major MMA promotion. He has had his three strikes, more in fact. While the small promotion is no doubt loathe to release a fighter with name value, it has to be done — and the competition, be it Bellator MMA or ONE FC, need to show restraint and decline to sign the fighter. Yes, some local promotion will no doubt latch on to him, but Rousimar Palhares’ days of MMA relevance need to be cut short, before someone’s career is.

So the WSOF must strip Palhares. It won’t be easy, and they’re no doubt comparing the situation to the UFC and Jon Jones, who was stripped of the title at the peak of his reign, but not terminated. That said, Jones damage was done outside the cage, not in it. In the case of Palhares, the two are intimately connected, so if he cannot control his actions, then the WSOF (and the MMA community as a whole) must remove the platform that makes it possible for Palhares to get into these situations.

If you want, present it as saving him from himself, but do not let him fight again.

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.