The UFC has issued an official statement over Rousimar Palhares’s lifetime ban from the organization. The Brazilian fighter made headlines earlier this week when he refused to let go of a submission after the match was stopped, continuing to crank a heel hook in his bout with Mike Pierce.
The next day, UFC president Dana White revealed that Palhares was out of the promotion for good; and now, the organization has released a statement on the matter:
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.