Most would say Rousimar Palhares got what was coming to him yesterday when Dana White announced that the fighter would be banned from the UFC for life. Palhares’s manager Alex Davis doesn’t see it that way though.
Davis says that there was no “malice” in what Palhares did, it was simply adrenaline and training.
“We have talked about it at length,” Davis said in an interview with MMAjunkie.com. “The one thing I can certify is that Rousimar does not hold on to a sub out of malice. It’s unconscious, a mix of adrenaline and years of being conditioned to not let go.”
Many in attendance and viewing at home would disagree. Palhares held the submission after Mike Pierce tapped repeatedly, which is technically not a foul, but also refused to let go after the referee intervened. That in itself is unsportsmanlike conduct.
“I can attest to the fact that Rousimar is a very simple, humble and well-meaning person,” Davis states. “This is not malice but instinct, nature of the beast.
“That said, we need to keep on working on it. Rousimar used to hurt people in training, but he has become very controlled now. Now we need to work on the fights, work on keeping him conscious rather than just automatic.”
Davis compared the situation to when fighters strike clearly unconscious opponents before the referee has stopped the fight.
“Kim hit an obviously unconscious Erick Silva,” Davis said. “It is a different situation in the fact that with Kim, the referee had not stepped in yet, but it was similar in the fact that both Rousimar’s hesitation to let go and Kim’s last punch were after the opponent had already been finished.
“These guys are in the zone. To me, it’s pure instinct.”
Palhares held onto a leg lock for too long once before in 2010, which resulted in a 90 suspension. Davis believes that in this case, the loss of the $50,000 Submission of the Night bonus is punishment enough.
The UFC has expressed no desire to consider reversing their decision though.