Palhares receives lifetime UFC ban

It took Rousimar Palhares just 31 seconds to finish Mike Pierce by heel hook in Brazil on Wednesday night, but his decision to hold onto the submission for a moment longer while continuing to torque his opponent’s knee has landed him a lifetime ban from the UFC.

UFC president Dana White promised after UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. Shields ended on FOX Sports 1 on Wednesday that the promotion would be handing down some sort of punishment for Palhares after he held onto his submission after his opponent already tapped out.

This isn’t the first incident like this for Palhares, who was suspended for 90 days following his heel hook submission win over Tomasz Drwal at UFC 111 when he again failed to release the hold after the referee stopped the bout and his opponent had given up.

The heel hook is already considered one of the most dangerous moves in the submission world because it can shred an opponent’s knee or ankle in just a matter of seconds if applied correctly. The move is sometimes even banned from grappling competitions because of how devastating it can be to someone’s leg.

On Thursday less than 24 hours removed from the event, White determined his punishment for Palhares and released the news while doing a special interview with ESPN.

White decided to release Palhares from the UFC while issuing a lifetime ban for the fighter, saying he will never compete in the Octagon again.

Palhares’ UFC career ends very unceremoniously after his latest actions in the Octagon with the apparent disregard to his opponent’s health when holding onto the submission after the fight was already stopped. Add to that, Palhares tested positive for elevated testosterone in his previous bout against Hector Lombard last December.

The ban will commence immediately and Palhares will be released from his UFC contract. He exits the promotion with an 8-4 record overall.

Palhares now joins a small list of fighters that have been blacklisted by the UFC including former welterweight knockout artist Paul Daley, who was kicked out of the promotion after punching Josh Koscheck after the final bell in 2010. Nate Marquardt was also banned from the UFC after testing positive for elevated testosterone just 24 hours prior to his bout against Rick Story in 2011, but he earned his way back and will actually compete at UFC 166 next weekend against Hector Lombard.

As of now, Palhares hasn’t made a statement about his release. However, Palhares did take to Twitter earlier in the morning to express his feelings about using his jiu-jitsu to intentionally hurt other fighters.


Zuffa, LLC — owner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship — has released the following statement Thursday evening:

As announced by UFC president Dana White, the UFC organization has elected to terminate its contract with Rousimar Palhares based on repeated incidents of unsportsmanlike conduct violating the UFC Fighter Code of Conduct and his Promotional Agreement with Zuffa, LLC.

At UFC FIGHT NIGHT: MAIA vs. SHIELDS on October 9, 2013, Palhares won his welterweight bout against Mike Pierce via heel hook submission in 31 seconds. Pierce appeared to tap several times physically and verbally and the ref intervened physically before Palhares let go. Despite being the only submission win on the card, Palhares was denied the Submission of the Night bonus. Managing Director of International Development Marshall Zelaznik announced at the post-fight press conference that the local commission would be investigating the length of time that Palhares held the submission.

The controversy is not Palhares’ first: In 2010, the New Jersey State Athletic Commission suspended Palhares for 90 days following his heel hook win over Tomasz Drwal at UFC 111 for not letting go after the referee stoppage.

In 2012, Palhares was again suspended for nine months after testing positive for elevated testosterone after UFC on FX 6.