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Palhares asks UFC for forgiveness
Rousimar Palhares has issued a public apology to the UFC and its president Dana White, just two days after being released from the UFC for holding on to a heel hook past the referee's instruction to release it during a win last Wednesday.
In a 5-minute, 37-second public message posted to his YouTube channel, Palhares also addressed his opponent Mike Pierce as well as his own history, saying that it's never been his intention to hurt anyone he's competed against. But he saved his closing remarks for the UFC president, perhaps in a last-ditch effort to get White to reverse course.
"Dana White, if you think my attitude was not positive inside the octagon, I ask that you, an open-hearted man, you forgive me. I’m sorry, okay?" he said. "Because that was not my intention. But I respect the decision of the UFC and Dana White."
Palhares was released on Thursday, less than 24 hours his latest in-cage troubles. It was the second time during his five-year UFC career that Palhares was flagged for the same infraction. The first came in 2010, when he held on to the same move against Tomasz Drwal, drawing a 90-day suspension from the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board.
In the Pierce incident, White didn't wait for Brazil's CABMMA sanctioning body to hand down a penalty, publicly cutting Palhares from his contract on U.S. television. Palhares was later suspended 120 days by CABMMA.
Offering his side of the story, Palhares explained that because Pierce had defended his first leg lock attempt, he was focused on ensure the victory and that because Pierce tapped on the referee, he did not immediately know he was trying to submit.
He also compared his own situation to that of another one that occurred on the same night, when Dong Hyun Kim scored a one-strike knockout, but landed another punch on the already-unconscious Erick Silva. But in that instance, the referee was late to arrive and Kim threw the punch before being stopped. In Palhares' instance, replays showed that he gave Pierce's knee one final torque even after the referee stepped in.
Palhares said being released will make him reconsider how he fights, but said he would continue chasing his goal of being one of the world's best fighters.
The 33-year-old, who came from abject poverty to find fame and late infamy in mixed martial arts, has a 15-5 career record.
"In the fight I only wanted to win the fight," he said. "I do not want to kill my opponent. I just want to win. I will not stop running after my dream. I worked hard to get here and I will continue working."