It appears the Ultimate Fighting Championship is just like baseball – three strikes and you’re out (in most cases).
Unlike some fighters who are granted a reprieve with the UFC after three consecutive losses, Rousimar Palhares (pictured) was promptly punted from the promotion after his third offense against the UFC Fighter Code of Conduct.
UFC president Dana White first broke the news Thursday while appearing as a guest on ESPN2’s “Olbermann,” but the UFC has now released an official statement regarding Palhares’ firing.
In addition to cranking on Mike Pierce’s ankle for a couple extra seconds after he had already visibly and verbally submitted, not to mention the fact the referee also came crashing in to make Palhares stop, the UFC cited a similar incident in 2010 when Palhares continued his heel hook assault on Tomasz Drwal after he tapped at UFC 111.
On top of all that, Palhares is fresh off serving a nine-month testosterone suspension.
Palhares has adamantly denied any wrongdoing. However, as my old basketball coach used to love to say, “Film don’t lie.”
Here is the UFC’s official statement:
As announced by UFC president Dana White, the UFC organization has elected to terminate its contract with Rousimar Palhares based on repeated incidents of unsportsmanlike conduct violating the UFC Fighter Code of Conduct and his Promotional Agreement with Zuffa, LLC.
At ‘UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. Shields’ on Oct. 9, 2013, Palhares won his welterweight bout against Mike Pierce via heel hook submission in 31 seconds. Pierce appeared to tap several times physically and verbally and the ref intervened physically before Palhares let go. Despite being the only submission win on the card, Palhares was denied the Submission of the Night bonus. Managing Director of International Development Marshall Zelaznik announced at the post-fight press conference that the local commission would be investigating the length of time that Palhares held the submission.
The controversy is not Palhares’ first: In 2010, the New Jersey State Athletic Commission suspended Palhares for 90 days following his heel hook win over Tomasz Drwal at UFC 111 for not letting go after the referee stoppage. In 2012, Palhares was again suspended for nine months after testing positive for elevated testosterone after UFC on FX 6.
Here’s White’s response on “Olbermann”: