In his first real statement since being released, now-former UFC fighter Rousimar Palhares was unrepentant in his actions. He blamed his opponent Mike Pierce and the referee for the prolonged heel hook that cost him $50,000 and his job. You can watch Palhares' video above, as well as the actual fight between Palhares and Pierce here.
Palhares defended his reputation, vowed to continue his MMA career and rejected the accusation of being a dirty fighter. That said, he accepted no responsibility for how things panned out during or after his fight.
When the referee took his hand off, it was precisely the time that I was turning to pick up the foot and the heel. When I finished spinning, the referee was able to take his hand off the grid and he fell. When he sat down, the referee had to go to the other side, and that transition took two seconds...the referee stepped in front, and he kept tapping on the back of the referee, not on me. I only saw that in the film, nor have I seen it at fight time (sic). The only thing I saw was the referee coming down on me, understood?
He didn't just blame the referee, though. He also criticized Pierce for not tapping hard enough: "I have not felt the guy tapping out (sic). If I had felt I would have released it, I certainly would not hurt him, because you only have to give the guy the three tapout, and it does not need more than that."
That, however, does not pass the sight test. Watching the video, Pierce clearly tapped immediately and tapped four times before the referee stepped between them. Even so, claiming that the referee obstructed the tap makes little sense given the fact that the referee being on top of them was an obvious sign that the fight was over.
While he defended himself, he also took issue with fans and the media criticizing him but not fellow welterweight Dong-Hyun Kim for his knockout of Erick Silva. The bout saw Kim score a shocking knockout in the second round. He chased a clearly unconscious Silva to the ground, landing one more big hammer strike before being tackled by the referee.
Since his UFC release, Palhares has come under fire from many parties. Former UFC champion Murilo Bustamante, who previously coached the embattled fighter, claimed that "Toquino" routinely injured training partners during his time with Brazilian Top Team, according to Fighters Only.
Additionally, numerous videos of Palhares refusing to release submissions in both MMA and grappling events have surfaced, demonstrating he has a long rap sheet that extends to all areas of his combat sports career.
His statement will almost certainly do nothing to change the minds of naysayers.