After successfully forcing Mike Pierce to tap to an ankle lock at UFC Fight Night 29: "Shields vs. Maia" Barueri, Brazil on Wednesday night (Oct. 9, 2013), the crowd at the Ginásio José Corrêa exploded. The celebration was short lived as Palhares continued to torque the submission well after Pierce tapped his leg and the referee dove in.
Due to holding onto the leg lock too long, the UFC opted to not award Palhares with the $50,000 "Submission of the Night" honors. UFC President Dana White said that night that there would be an additional punishment handed down by the promotion.
It turns out that the additional punishment was a release from his UFC contract.
This wasn't the first time that Palhares has held onto a submission too long. At UFC 111 in New Jersey, he did the same against Tomasz Drwal. The New Jersey State Athletic Control Board (NJSACB) suspended him for 90 days because of his actions.
Brazilian Top Team (BTT) head honcho and former UFC Middleweight champion, Murilo Bustamante, spoke with Fighter's Only about Palhares' split from his long time gym. Bustamante confirmed what many had already suspected, Palhares was just as reckless in the gym room with training partners.
"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."
Bustamante was believed to be the only man to keep Palhares' under control. He had his student's respect and was viewed as a "father figure." He brought Palhares up in mixed martial arts (MMA) and was in his corner for much of his career.
There can only be two explanations for this interview. The first is that the timing worked out perfectly to let people know that Palhares is just as dangerous in the training room as he is in the cage. The other is that there's a bit of bitterness due to the split.
My take is that it's a little bit of column A and a little bit of column B. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gyms are notorious for loyalty above all else. Palhares leaving BTT likely led to Bustamante feeling like a "lover scorned" and this is the perfect opportunity to bury "Toquinho" in the media.