Pierce was submitted in the first round of his bout at UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. Shields last Wednesday by a heel hook courtesy of the Brazilian submission master, but after initially tapping out, Palhares held onto the hold for additional time while putting pressure on the knee and ankle.
Following the event, Pierce traveled home with his coach Phil Claud, who informed FOX Sports on Sunday about the upcoming medical examinations to find out the damage done to his leg after the heel hook submission.
"Mike will know the extent of the damage to his knee and ankle tomorrow after his evaluation and MRI with one of Oregon's top orthopedic surgeons," Claud wrote via text message. "As a coach and friend I hate to see any athlete go through what Mike is going through. I as his coach take total responsibility for the game plan that put Mike in a career-ending situation."
Claud initially told FOX Sports last week that the hope was Pierce's leg wasn't too badly damaged and that he would recover with some physical therapy and time off from training. He will still undergo the MRI and additional examination to verify if there was structural or long-term damage done to his knee or ankle from the submission.
"Mike will be back to fight another day but the unfortunate fact is that he is injured," Claud said. "At this time, Mike needs the support of all MMA fans, friends and family so he can return to doing what he loves to do — fight in the UFC."
The loss in Brazil marked the end of Pierce's four-fight win streak, but the final act by Palhares could end up costing the former wrestler much more if there is significant damage done to his knee.