Rousimar Palhares finally captured an MMA title this past Saturday as he beat Steve Carl in the first round at WSOF 9, winning the WSOF welterweight title. Palhares won the fight the way he always wins, with the heel hook. Some say Palhares held the hold too long, while others say it’s not his job to stop the fight. It’s not the fighters job to call the fight, it’s their job to fight. It’s the ref’s job to make the call to end the fight.
Palhares has a bad track record with being a “dirty” fighter. This is why he is no longer under contract for the UFC. He was let go due to unsportsmanlike conduct. It would be different if it was any other fighter. Saturday night against Carl, Palhares was able to lock up his patented leg lock and Carl immediately verbally tapped out. The ref did not hear it. So, if Carl verbally taps, the ref doesn’t hear it, and you the fighter let go and Carl jumps back up and starts hitting you, then what? You can’t just yell at the ref that he tapped.
Palhares definitely holds the heel lock too long, and he knows he does. He is a master at the technique and knows when it’s time to let go. He isn’t stupid. It’s understandably the ref’s job to stop the fight, but you know it’s over when it’s over despite the ref having to tell you. Perfect example is when a guy knocks out another guy and has time to hit him before the ref breaks it up. Just because you have the chance, doesn’t mean you have to use it. Cerrone is a great example of this. Unless you’re Bisping on the receiving end of a deserved Hendo punch (UFC 100) after you’re knocked out, then it’s totally uncalled for.
Palhares might be the new WSOF welterweight champion, but his legacy will always be tarnished. Hopefully he gets to hold the belt for awhile as he will never get a chance at UFC gold. Some fighters have had their issues and are blessed enough to return to the UFC. Anthony “Rumble” Johnson is a great example. Then their are guys who are just bad sports and had their chance and ruined it. Look at Paul Daley. Would you classify Palhares more like Daley or more like Johnson?
It’s pretty clear where Palhares stands in all of this. He has a bad reputation of being a bad sport in and out of training. You know when it’s time to let go of the heel hook and you don’t. He is good and knows how to perfect his technique, but that will never land him back in the UFC. The UFC is the top of the mountain. Every fighter out there is trying to get to the top, while Palhares is going to have to settle for the middle.