The UFC ban of Rousimar Palhares only underscores the reason I don’t now, nor have I ever, followed the UFC or any other MMA fighting. Palhares, who was making his welterweight debut submitted Mike Pierce via his trademark heel hook (no such thing) early in the first round. However, Palhares refused to release the lock for several seconds following the tap, despite Pierce’s obvious pain and the insistence of referee Keith Peterson. It’s not difficult to look at him and realize that he came up a little short in the area of intelligence. But to not release somewhat who is submitting is the most serious act of cowardice in the world of Marital Arts. It’s akin to shooting a man in the back or literally taking candy from a baby. Now that we have that out-of-the-way, the more important issue for me, is that he should never have been considered a Martial Artist. He doesn’t understand what it means to be a Martial Artist nor do his instructors, apparently. In response to his unsportsmanlike conduct UFC President Dana White announced that, “this is the second incident we’ve had with Palhares where he had the lock and he didn’t let it go. Finally he let it go, but I’m going to cut him. He’s done.” I do respect that fact that White had the guts to cut a fighter who would otherwise have drawn big ratings. Following his UFC release, the Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission (CABMMA) also reacted to Palhares’ decision to hold onto his submission past the moment when his opponent had surrendered, and hit him with a 120-day suspension. In a statement the commission said, “After detailed analysis of the conduct of Rousimar Palhares in his bout, at the event UFC Fight Night held on October 9, 2013 at the city of Barueri, we communicate the suspension of the athlete for a period of 120-days, counted as from the end of the period of his medical suspension.” At least something was done but he should be banned for life, period, before he hurts or kills anyone.
Now a few words about Palhares. The name of his “trademark” lock or heel hook, as it’s referred, is actually a Japanese Ju Jitsu lock and has a name. He did not invent it nor does he do it correctly. It’s simply that he’s a strong guy who is capable of hurting another strong guy. Any human being is capable of hurting another. What makes a Superior Martial Artist is his or her ability to submit someone, Without actually hurting them. But this person is an embarrassment to all true Martial Artists and therefore, the UFC made the correct call in this case. But he is not the only one. Many of these so-called ultimate fighters are nothing more than tough guys, thugs, trained to fight in a cage. I often say they find them in bars, hit them across the heads with two by fours and if they don’t go down, they bring them in to the gym to train. Referring to them as Martial Artists is an insult to all those great Sensei who committed their lives to teaching the Arts, regardless of which one, and more importantly who taught peace, respect and humbleness. Those unaware of what the Martial Arts are truly about, should look up the Code of Bushido. Every Martial Artist should be committed to following its precepts. So farewell to Palhares and his type of cowardly, shenanigans. Although it’s a step in the right direction, I still won’t be tuning in to watch anytime soon.