On Thursday, the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) suspended former World Series of Fighting welterweight champion Rousimar Palhares for two years due to unsportsmanlike conduct.
The Brazilian, feared for his devastating heel hook submissions, repeatedly gouged Jake Shields’ eyes and held onto a kimura after referee Steve Mazzagatti had intervened during his title-defense at WSOF 22. “Toquinho” was also fined $40,000.
Despite repeated foul play in the Jake Shields fight and a history unsportsmanlike conduct in the UFC, Palhares maintains his innocence and believes the NAC were unfair in their conviction.
The 35-year-old released a statement to MMAFighting shortly after the suspension:
“I appeared in front of the commission today to tell the truth and take the responsibilities for my acts. I thank the commission for opening an exception and allowing me the opportunity to participate on the hearing via Skype. I know all the complications that it has caused, but I once again thank them for understanding my current condition.
“Yet, I don’t agree with the punishment, both the suspension and the fine. Many untruths were said. They didn’t take in consideration the obvious mistake committed by referee Steve Mazzagatti, who was in an inadequate position at the moment of the submission. If the referee was in the correct position, maybe none of this would have happened.
“Unfortunately, I will have to obey this unfair decision, fulfilling my suspension and paying the fine. I’ll reflect about everything that happened and, together with my manager Alex Davis, I will make the best decision for the continuation of my career.
“I will never accept to be called a dirty fighter. I’ll say this again, I have more than 20 fights in my career and no one will ever say the name of a single fighter that has broken an arm or a leg while fighting me, I never ended no one’s career due to injury. I’m a clean and correct athlete, and I know my character and professionalism.”
While Palhares claims he’s never ended a fighter’s career, UFC welterweight contender Mike Pierce has been out of action for over two years. The American suffered a sprained MCL and an ankle injury after Rousimar continued to crank onto a heel hook after multiple taps.
Pierce will make his return against Ryan LaFlare at The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale on December 11th in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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