Ronda Rousey wasn’t the only person competing in mixed martial arts this weekend. The World Series of Fighting also had an event on Saturday headlined by their welterweight champion Rousimar Palhares and former UFC contender Jake Shields. Like Rousey, Palhares has a reputation as a terrifying submission artist who will rip your limbs apart in under a minute. But unlike Rousey, he also has a reputation for fighting dirty and refusing to release submission holds.
Rousimar lived up to his rep during the Shields fight, sticking his fingers into his opponent’s eyes several times and eliciting multiple warnings from the referee. He also held onto his fight-winning kimura submission after Shields tapped, and continued to twist the arm further backwards as the referee signaled repeatedly for him to stop.
World Series Of Fighting officials reviewed the tape and announced Monday that they are stripping Palhares of the title and suspending him indefinitely for his actions during the match.
“When Jake Shields is tapping nine times and the referee is tapping you six, seven times and literally pulling you off, that’s where people are gonna get hurt,” WSOF president Ray Sefo told MMA Fighting. “We’re in a sport. We’re not in a war where we have to eliminate people.”
Palhares was let go by the UFC after a similar incident where he held onto a leglock too long against opponent Mike Pierce in 2013. The promotion cited another late release on a heel hook against Tomasz Drawl in 2010 and a positive steroid test in 2012 when cutting him, while Dana White didn’t beat around the bush. “What he did was wrong and really despicable,” the UFC president said to FOX Sports Live. “He won’t be back.”
Palhares may still be in line for more trouble. The Nevada State Athletic Commission has said it will also be investigating the incident, along with the post-fight punch thrown by Jake Shields.