Palhares' Ex-Coach: 'Toquinho' Hurt People Sparring, Had Excuses for Losses

John HeinisSenior Analyst IOctober 12, 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

Former UFC fighter Rousimar Palhares trained at Team Nogueira leading up to his welterweight debut against Mike Pierce, but prior to that, he was a mainstay at the Brazilian Top Team facility. 

BTT coach/co-founder Murilo Bustamante is adding to the public outrage against "Toquinho," who was cut from the UFC for holding a heel hook long after Pierce tapped out at UFC Fight Night 29, slamming his former student in an interview with Fighters Only

"I wouldn’t normally say anything because usually what happens inside Brazilian Top Team stays inside Brazilian Top Team. But Rousimar has been talking a lot of bulls--t about my team so I feel I am free to say what I think as well,” Bustamante said. "I can say this - nobody ever defended him as much as I did every time he made a mistake like this. In the beginning I thought it was because he was naive or had too much nervous energy during the fights. But then he caused a lot of incidents inside my academy during his camps and I changed my mind. I got tired of seeing how he hurts people so often when he is sparring, especially when he has a fight coming up. We used to argue every time it happened, so we argued a lot. That was a reason - together with his nonsense excuses every time he lost a fight - that our relationship started to get bitter. I actually hired a psychologist to help me with him but, as we have seen, it didn't work."

Palhares is generally viewed as one of the most polarizing figures in UFC history, being the only fighter in promotional history to be suspended twice by two different athletic commissions for holding onto a submission hold after the ref stopped the bout. 

The first incident occurred against Tomasz Drwal at UFC 111 in March 2010, with the second of course being his bout with Pierce from Wednesday. 

These mental lapses or acts of malice, depending who is asked, are not just limited to the cage, as Palhares has been know to crank submissions a little too hard, for a little too long, on the grappling circuit as well

His reputation was also recently tarnished when he tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone in a post-fight drug test in December, after getting knocked out by Hector Lombard at UFC on FX 6, per The MMA Report

To make matters worse, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney just told TMZ that his promotion has no interest in Palhares since "fighter safety is paramount to me and my team." 

Has this misstep with Pierce effectively ended Palhares' career as a professional fighter, or will a promotion eventually roll the dice on the embattled Brazilian grappler?


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