Renato "Babalu" Sobral today appeared before the The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) and issued a public apology to David Heath and the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) for his actions at UFC 74 on August 25, according to FightNetwork.com.
Here's a snip from the Brazilian:
"I would like to say I'm sorry to David Heath and for anything I've done to the sport I love."
Sobral, of course, is in hot water for refusing to release a chokehold during his bout with Heath, which resulted in the light heavyweight falling unconscious. For more background on this situation click here.
During the hearing today the NSAC ruled unanimously to withhold his $25,000 win bonus (Sobral did pocket an additional $25,000). In addition, Sobral will have to appear before the NSAC at a future disciplinary hearing and could be fined more and even suspended for his actions.
However, the NSAC Executive Director, Keith Kizer, sounds as if a suspension will more than likely not happen.
Here's a snip:
"I've looked at the tape a lot. While I do believe there was some intent here, I don't think this rises to the level of some other things we've seen [i.e. the infamous Mike Tyson ear-biting attack on Evander Holyfield in 1997]."
The interesting defense laid forth in this case is that Sobral did not intentionally maintain the choke despite attempts from the referee, Steve Mazzagatti, to peel him off. Sobral is now saying he "did not feel Heath submit or Mazzagatti tapping him on the shoulder." That's a far cry from his post-fight remarks that he did it to teach Heath a "lesson" and "some respect."
Regardless, Babalu has since been cut from his UFC contract, fined $25,000 and now faces even more possible sanctions.
Does the punishment fit the crime?
For more on the hearing check out MMAWeekly.com.