Since UFC Fight Night 29, Rousimar Palhares has been under a constant barrage of attacks and criticism from fans and promoters who believe that he held his heel hook on Mike Pierce for far too long. Immediately following the event, Palhares was cut from the UFC, and Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney made a statement saying he would not even consider taking the fighter under his wing. It has been rough for Palhares, but fortunately for him, both of the world famous Nogueira brothers have stepped forward to show him support.
Speaking to MMAfighting.com on the subject of Palhares’s unfortunate situation, Rodrigo Nogueira stated, “He is a good person, excellent company and a man with a great character. I believe that he has never thought of doing anything evil to any opponent because this isn’t his conduct. I don’t question UFC’s decision because the people who are in control have a global view of the business and they understand it better than anyone in the whole business that involves our sport.”
“It’s a dangerous position and the guy who applies it has to be explosive,” added Nogueira. “At the time, you don’t look at the opponent. ‘Toquinho’ lost the position several times because he released the grip a little. It’s a position that you go with everything or you lose it. It’s a complicated situation. The referee needs to be aware and has to intervene in an energetic way.”
Whether or not Palhares intentionally held on to the submission for to long is debatable, but it is notable that he and Pierce had not exchanged any ill words leading up to the fight, and there did not seem to be any sense of animosity between the fighters. Though the UFC would typically give a fighter in this situation the benefit of the doubt, this is not the first time Palhares has held on to a submission for too long.
Rogerio Nogueira also defended Palhares, when he stated, “I’ve known Rousimar for years. As an athlete he’s a phenom, and as a person he’s loved by everyone, especially for his simplicity. Anyone who knows the history of his life will be enchanted with his modesty and dedication to the sport. ‘Toquinho’ was always the first to arrive and the last to leave the gym, always a great help to our athletes, and we’re sure he will continue to do so because Team Nogueira will always be by his side.”
Where will Palhares go from here? Do you think he held on to the heel hook for too long?