In a move a lot of folks wanted to see happen, World Series of Fighting has announced that it has stripped Rousimar Palhares of the welterweight title, following his controversial win over Jake Shields on Saturday.
Not only did Palhares not immediately release the Kimura he used to tap-out Shields in round three, but the latter has accused him of gouging his eyes during the bout. As any big fan knows, Palhares has been disciplined in the past for not releasing submissions. In 2013, he was banned by the UFC for injuring Mike Pierce with a pro-longed heel hook.
Well, on Tuesday, the WSOF confirmed that Palhares is no longer the welterweight champ, and that the the fighter has been indefinitely suspended. In a press release from the promotion, WSOF President Ray Sefo was quoted saying the following:
“After taking the time to review the footage from Saturday’s bout between Rousimar Palhares and Jake Shields in its entirety, we decided that stripping Rousimar of his title and issuing him a suspension until this issue is resolved, was necessary,” said Sefo
“As a fighter with over two decades of ring experience,” continued Sefo, “I am always going to be an advocate for other fighters and, in this case, I feel that World Series of Fighting must protect its athletes and rules of competition by imposing swift and firm disciplinary action to address what we saw as unfair play in the cage.”
“Because of specific instances in the past in which Rousimar had arguably held his submission holds longer than necessary in competition,” explained Sefo, “Steve Mazzagatti gave Rousimar clear verbal instructions in the dressing room, before the fight, about listening to and obeying the referee’s commands, including those about letting go of a submission hold when instructed to do so.”
The Nevada Commission is also planning to review the WSOF 22 headliner, and is withholding Palhares’ win bonus in the interim.