Rousimar Palhares Issued 120-Day Suspension from Brazilian Athletic Commission

John HeinisSenior Analyst IOctober 11, 2013

Oct 9, 2013; Barueri, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Rousimar Palhares reacts after defeating Mike Pierce (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Jose Correa Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Only highly regarded Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Rousimar Palhares could possibly be facing the most scrutiny of his career after easily submitting Mike Pierce at UFC Fight Night 29 on Wednesday. 

In what has become an all-too-common mishap in his career, Palhares held onto the fight-ending heel hook for several seconds after his opponent clearly tapped out and even after the referee had intervened. 

This left the UFC little choice but to announce it had released the hulking Brazilian grappler on Thursday.

Now, it appears "Toquinho" will have to wait in the unemployment line a little longer than expected. MMA Junkie has revealed that The Comissao Atletica Brasileira de MMA (CABMMA) has handed the fighter a 120-day suspension. 

According to CABMMA, Palhares' suspension won't commence until after his routine medical suspension ends (the length of the media suspension wasn't disclosed). Regardless, it's likely to put the 33-year-old fighter on the sidelines for up to half a year. The determination of the period of suspension considers, among other things, the athlete's recurrence of unsportsmanlike conduct of the same nature.

As has been well-documented in the past couple of days, Palhares has a history of not releasing submission holds at the appropriate time. 

At UFC 111 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, Palhares submitted Tomasz Drwal with his patented heel hook but was issued a 90-day suspension by the athletic commission for failing to release the hold in a timely fashion. 

In the same year, he was criticized for once again cranking a heel hook against David Avellan after the tap in the quarterfinals of the Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championship. 

The tournament is the premier event in no-gi grappling worldwide. 

Earlier in his career in March 2007, Palhares held onto a rear-naked choke well after his opponent, Helio Dipp, had tapped out. 

That's at least four instances of unsportsmanlike conduct, which cost Palhares his "Submission of the Night" bonus and later his job, yet the 33-year-old insists he doesn't fight with any malice against his opponents. 

I never meant to hurt anyone, as a jiu-jitsu fighter I always seek for the submission, but I would never be evil to any athlete.

— Rousimar Palhares (@ToquinhoMMA) October 10, 2013

I always respect the @UFC decisions, but most of most I respect a lot Mike Pierce, so again I never meant to hurt him, just finish the fight

— Rousimar Palhares (@ToquinhoMMA) October 10, 2013

Pierce, who had quietly compiled a four-fight win streak prior to this debacle, has been quiet on the matter, recently texting Ariel Helwani that "I'm just really pissed off right now" and leaving it at that.

Does the punishment fit the crime in this instance, or were the penalties issued to Palhares a little harsh given the circumstances?


John Heinis is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA Editor for