Rousimar Palhares’ manager has come out swinging, arguing that his client is being unfairly attacked by the media and the public, and that the whole situation is being “overblown.”
Alex Davis penned an open letter on MMA Junkie saying Palhares is being crucified and being treated as a monster, in the wake of his submission victory over Mike Pierce at UFC Fight Night 29.
“This guy is being crucified in the court of public opinion and turned into something he is not: a mean, monstrous person who is out to hurt people. This is simply not the truth,” Davis said.
Palhares was fired by the UFC after he refused to let go of a painful heel submission hold. Pierce appeared to tap at least seven times – some of them on Palhares leg – before the referee jumped in, forcing Palhares to release the hold.
The fighter was denied a Fight of the Night submission bonus and then two days later cut by the UFC.
This isn’t the first time UFC President Dana White has resorted to such drastic measures. He also fired Paul Daley a few years ago after he threw a punch at Josh Koscheck after the bell and after the fight was over.
The UFC is especially cautious of unsportsmanlike conduct right now as it battles for legitimacy in the state of New York. MMA is banned in New York and the UFC is pushing the state legislature to legalize the sport.
The UFC also has a national broadcasting deal with Fox Sports, and as it explores international business opportunities, the company wants to distance itself from the ancient perception of MMA as “no-holds-barred cage fighting.”
Davis said that Palhares will bounce back from the adversity.
“I don’t have a crystal ball, but let me try and predict the future here,” Davis said. “Rousimar will fight again. There are already several events interested in having him. He will have learned his lesson, he will come out under control, and he will will put on amazing fights. I say this because Rousimar is one hell of an athlete. He is humble, hardworking and disciplined. He does not drink, does not party. He trains hard, and not only does he train, he helps his training partners. He is a great teammate. Everyone at Team Nogueira loves him.”