ZUFFA issues official statement regarding UFC 'termination' of Rousimar Palhares

Michael Cohen

After a day full of developments regarding Rousimar Palhares and his future with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), ZUFFA issued an official statement explaining why the decision was made to cut "Toquinho."

Less than 48 hours removed from UFC Fight Night 29: "Maia vs. Shields," as well as the gnarly 31-second submission (see it here) that concluded the welterweight bout featuring Mike Pierce vs. Rousimar Palhares, the company responsible for bringing Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) to the mixed martial arts (MMA) community has explained its reason for "terminating the contract" of the embattled Brazilian.

The statement was released via UFC's official website and new UFC News Twitter account. It was accompanied with video of an appearance by promotion president Dana White made earlier in the day, where he first broke the news that "Toquinho" was "done" (watch video).

"As announced by UFC president Dana White, the UFC organization has elected to terminate its contract with Rousimar Palhares based on repeated incidents of unsportsmanlike conduct violating the UFC Fighter Code of Conduct and his Promotional Agreement with Zuffa, LLC."

The announcement went on to reveal the findings made during the investigation conducted by UFC's Managing Director of International Development Marshall Zelaznik and the local Brazilian athletic commission, which ultimately led to Palhares' denial of $50,000 in cash.

"At UFC Fight Night 29 on Oct. 9, 2013, Palhares won his welterweight bout against Mike Pierce via heel hook submission in 31 seconds. Pierce appeared to tap several times physically and verbally and the ref intervened physically before Palhares let go. Despite being the only submission win on the card, Palhares was denied the Submission of the Night bonus."

ZUFFA referenced some skeletons in "Toquinho's" closet, as well. Bringing up the prior heel hook incident Palhares played a star role in, against Tomasz Drwal at UFC 111.

"The controversy is not Palhares' first: In 2010, the New Jersey State Athletic Commission suspended Palhares for 90 days following his heel hook win over Tomasz Drwal at UFC 111 for not letting go after the referee stoppage."

The decree didn't mention the other documented instance of Palhares taking the idea of injuring his opponent much too far, when he failed to let go of a heel hook against David Avellan during an Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) match, which resulted in a restart. Palhares ended up winning a few minutes later via...you guessed it, heel hook; leaving Avellan on the mat in visible pain.

But the owners did manage to mention his positive test for raised levels of testosterone In 2012.
"In 2012, Palhares was again suspended for nine months after testing positive for elevated testosterone after UFC on FX 6."
Palhares becomes the third notable case in UFC history to be released due to "unsportsmanlike conduct" and draws eyeballs to the first two. Take for example Paul Daley, who just so happens to be in action Dec. 16, 2013 for British promotion BAMMA. When comparing the two cases, the absence of the word "ban" leaves the door open for a return, but don't bet on it.

Prior to that, Renato Sobral was bounced in 2007 for putting David Heath to sleep after the fight had ended (details).

Must be a tough pill to swallow, as Palhares claims he "never meant to hurt anyone," and as is easily forgotten with circumstances like this, he actually won the fight.

This statement puts a stamp on an eventful week in UFC (for some of the wrong reasons) as all eyes turn towards UFC 166, set to blast off Oct. 19, 2013 from Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. The card will be headlined by the third installment in the Heavyweight Championship series of Junior Dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez.

Keep tabs on it all here.
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