Newly crowned World Series of Fighting welterweight champion Rousimar Palhares isn't receiving much praise in light of his submission victory over Steve Carl at WSOF 9 Saturday night in Las Vegas.
Once again, many pundits believe that "Toquinho" held on to a dangerous leglock for a little too long after his opponent tapped out.
However, World Series of Fighting President Ray Sefo, matchmaker Ali Abdel-Aziz and Carl all believe that Palhares showed the utmost sportsmanship in this particular situation, per Shaun Al-Shatti of MMA Fighting.
"The submission happened right in front of Ali and I," said Sefo. "I thought as soon as the referee told him to let go, he let go. So if you think that he held it too long, then you're crazy," Sefo said at the post-fight press conference.
Abdel-Aziz echoed that same sentiment.
"I think everybody needs to leave this kid alone," said Abdel-Aziz. "He went through a lot already, and he's a champ now. I think everybody should be congratulating him and praising him as a champ."
Carl, who congratulated Palhares with a hug after the fight, also feels there was nothing controversial about the end of the title tilt.
"It all happened really fast, and the damage was done at that point. I got no ill will," Carl explained, complimenting his Brazilian counterpart on the "extremely slick" transition to the inverted heel hook.
For those who missed Saturday evening's championship bout, a GIF of the finish can be viewed here, courtesy of Zombie Prophet.
The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, who improved to 16-6 overall with the win over Carl, was banned from the UFC after cranking a heel hook on Mike Pierce at UFC Fight Night 29 in October.
This wasn't the first time Palhares was sanctioned for being overzealous with a submission hold, as the New Jersey Athletic Commission suspended the 34-year-old for 90 days back in March 2010 after he excessively cranked a heel hook on Tomasz Drwal at UFC 111, per MMA Junkie.
In an interview with MMA Oddsbreaker last year, Fitch said he would turn down a bout with Palhares, the first time he'd ever decline a matchup in his nearly 12-year professional fight career.
Apparently, he has since softened his stance now that championship gold is on the line.