Why cutting Palhares was the right move
posted Oct 11 2013, 08:52AM
story by David Loret
posted in UFC/MMA, Analysis

The biggest talk about the latest UFC in Brazil isn't about Shields defeating a Top 5, isn't about Kim ko-ing Erik Silva either ... sadly, it wasn't something good.

Paul Daley and Babalu Sobral (look at the replay during the interview .. ) now have company amongst fighters cut/banned due to in-cage antics. Wednesday night, Rousimar Palhares joined them on what is a sad week in MMA. For those of you who have missed it, here’s the gif of the action during UFC Fight Night in Brazil :

For those who are not familiar to the UFC or Jiu Jitsu, here’s a little breakdown of the action. On his second attempt in 20 seconds, Palhares manages to lock the heel hook (this is a leg lock that applies pressure on the ankle and the knee) on Pierce and didn’t let go the hold despite Pierce tapping out and/or screaming in pain.

This is a violation of one of the most important rules in the UFC or in any kind of combat sports : When someone taps, you let everything go. Of course, there’s always a small chance that the referee doesn’t see the tap but not in this case. Even a blind referee could have heard a guy screaming in pain because of that hold. The worst thing isn’t even that Palhares could have badly injured Pierce (the heel hook is considered to be a very dangerous leg lock with a high rate of injury .. especially to the ligaments in the knee ) but the fact that the Brazilian fighter is a repeat offender (and known for that, even in grappling contest outside the UFC).

Can you keep a guy who breaks a rule and put his opponent in danger ? No. It could have been even worse if that was a choke of any kind (think about what happens when the blood doesn’t go the brain anymore for 30 seconds).

The really sad part for Palhares is that he might never set foot in the UFC ever again and that despite being an absolute beast at 170 lbs. All of that because … He didn’t let go a hold despite having the fight won ? Awh yeah, I almost forgot. Palhares is a legitimate black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and is one of the best grapplers in the planet, this is not like it was the very first time he stepped into the cage. He knows all the rules. And that’s why on a pure Jiu Jitsu stand point and overall standpoint, cutting him is the right move.

He might very well be in the Top 10 at Welterweight but this is the grappling version of a suckerpunch. Heck, this is even worse than a suckerpunch, he could have ended Pierce’s career like this. (I’m not including hockey into the suckerpunch conversation because Bertuzzi ..)

But the idea and what is really interesting is that this fight was on Fox Sports. That might not tell you a lot, but hear me out. The UFC is a growing organization who’s having a ton of success but the sport of MMA is still REALLY far from what Boxing is. Boxing has a legacy, an history full of champions and icons spread over more than 100 year. There’s no Ali or Tyson in MMA (yet ..). The fact is that the UFC is only enjoying mainstream exposure for 2 years thanks to the Fox broadcasting deal. It’s a part of its growth. But this, this is the kind of publicity that the UFC (and Fox Sports..) doesn’t need. This is exactly why the UFC isn’t global yet. In France for example, MMA isn’t fully allowed yet (the ground and pound is forbidden) and there’s a very good chance that people who are against it will use Palhares actions to keep the UFC outside of the country.  And there’s also a very good chance that France isn’t the only country to act like this. The thing about the fight being on Fox Sports is simple : everyone could have seen it. What would a kid think seeing this ? What would someone who isn’t really into MMA think ? What would Fox think ? It would have been bad for the UFC if they kept Rousimar in the organization. The relationship with Fox Network could have suffer from it, people could have used Rousimar as an example of why it should be banned/illegal/forbidden and so on ..

Instead, the UFC made an example out of Palhares. And it is the right move.

Sorry Toquinho … But you deserved to get cut.

David Loret
From Paris. Editor-in-Chief. IBN Senior MMA and WWE Writer....

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