After getting the boot from Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) for holding on to a ligament-straining heel hook on Mike Pierce at UFC Fight Night 29 last October (see it here), Rousimar Palhares received another chance to compete at a high level in mixed martial arts (MMA) by landing a contract with World Series of Fighting (WSOF).
However, it took the pleading and advisement of two esteemed jiu-jitsu black belts in the form of Renzo Gracie and Rousimar's coach and UFC heavyweight, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, to finally convince Sefo to take a chance on the stocky welterweight.
Sefo explained during a recent WSOF conference call (Via MMA Fighting):
"I was one of the first people that actually said the same thing, that I wasn't interested because, again, this is a sport and I don't want to see anybody get hurt badly or get paralyzed from that because of some silliness. But after listening to Renzo Gracie, who is a master of jiu-jitsu, and what he had to say about that particular incident, there's been discussions and dialogue going back and forth between our matchmaker and his team and (coach Antonio Rodrigo) Nogueira. Nogueira is giving us his word that he's actually sitting down with [Palhares] and helping him with this camp, and they're looking into getting him some help, as well. So all these things put together allowed me to look at it from a different perspective and talk to the team about it, and so we decided that we were going to sign him."
But if "Toquinho" thinks he'll be able to get away with the same antics that have landed him in hot water on more than one occasion inside the Octagon, he'll be in for a surprise, because Sefo and Co. will not tolerate any "nonsense" from him.
"I will not tolerate any of that nonsense that happened before. If it happens again, he's gone. It would be silly for it to happen again, because I'm pretty sure if he does it here, then he won't have anywhere else to go. But again, Nogueira and the team have given us their word that things will be good from here on in, so we'll wait and see."
Though Palhares eventually apologized and admitted to his mistakes, the higher ups at ZUFFA weren't having any of it, standing firm in their stance to not keep the submission specialist on the packed roster.
No potential opponent has been named for "Toquinho" thus far, but whoever gets first crack at the Brazilian bomber, it would serve in their best interest to brush up on some submission defense.
And if Rousimar wants to keep his spot on the WSOF roster for more than one fight, he better practice on his quick release just in case he manages to trap his foe in his trademark heel hook.
Over/Under on how many fights before we have an incident?