Fighter suspended: Rousimar Palhares Title

Published: August 5, 2015

Fighter suspended: Rousimar Palhares Title, The World Series of Fighting announced on Tuesday it has stripped Rousimar Palhares of his welterweight title and placed him on indefinite suspension, following his actions during a successful title defense against Jake Shields last weekend in Las Vegas.

Ray Sefo, president of WSOF, made the announcement during an appearance on The MMA Hour. The Nevada State Athletic Commission is also investigating Palhares’ actions and has already withheld his $40,000 win bonus.

Palhares (18-6) received several warnings for placing his fingers in Shields’ eyes during the championship bout. The Brazilian eventually submitted Shields via kimura in the third round and continued to crank on the submission well after Shields tapped.

“Not only did he do it once or twice, he did it numerous times and was warned by the referee on four different occasions,” said Sefo, on Palhares’ eye gouges. “He held that submission way too long. I counted, the amount of times Jake Shields tapped was nine. I counted (referee Steve Mazzagatti) tapped (Palhares) on the back five or six times.

“After sitting down with my team and reviewing it again, we made a decision that we’re not only going to strip him of the title immediately, we are also suspending him indefinitely.”

Many questioned referee Mazzagatti’s decision to not deduct a point for the egregious eye pokes. Shields has been especially critical of Mazzagatti’s performance, both during the fight and after.

Sefo echoed those complaints on Tuesday, but refrained from going so far as to say he never wanted to see Mazzagatti in the cage again.

“In my opinion, and I’m sure a lot of other people’s opinion, he should have taken a point or maybe even disqualified (Palhares) after being warned four times,” Sefo said. “It’s the commission’s decision (whether or not to use him again).”

Ranked the No. 10 welterweight in the world by ESPN.com, Palhares has built a reputation as one of the dirtiest fighters in the sport. The New Jersey Athletic Control Board suspended Palhares in 2010 after he held a submission too long in a UFC middleweight fight. The UFC released him two years later after he blatantly held a heel hook submission longer than necessary in a win against Mike Pierce.

Palhares has also served a performance-enhancing drug-related suspension. Following a loss to Hector Lombard in a UFC bout in December 2012, Palhares tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone and was suspended for nine months.

WSOF signed Palhares in 2014, where he won the 170-pound title in his promotional debut. His submission win against Shields (31-8-1) was his third title defense.

As of now, Palhares remains under contract with WSOF. Sefo did not rule out the possibility of releasing the 35-year-old, depending on further actions taken against him by the NSAC.

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