World Series of Fighting (WSOF) Vice President and matchmaker, Ali Abdel-Aziz, thinks mixed martial arts (MMA) fans who cried foul this past weekend (Sat., March 29, 2014) with Rousimar Palhares-driven conspiracies should slow their rolls.
At WSOF 9, which took place from Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, the former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) submission specialist captured the promotion's welterweight championship, tapping Steve Carl in the first round of their main event bout (watch highlights here).
"Toquinho" slapped on a heel hook early, with Carl trying to squirm out of it for as long as he could before eventually tapping out to the hold. Palhares didn't let go immediately, but did when as soon as referee Yves Lavigne physically intervened.
Was it, perhaps, a little late? Under normal circumstances, probably not, but Palhares' in-cage antics are magnified thanks to his controversial submission win Mike Pierce at UFC Fight Night 29 in Oct. 201, which resulted in his untimely release from the promotion.
Abdel-Aziz confirmed that he spoke with WSOF boss Ray Sefo about the issue cageside, moments after Palhares won on Saturday. Sefo didn't see it as a problem when both him and Abdel-Aziz spoke to MMAFighting after the event. In fact, he suggests fans who dissected the split-second release, might want to get their heads checked.
"The submission happened right in front of Ali and I. 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."
Abdel-Aziz took a similar stance, but he said that instead of trashing Palhares -- who is a repeat offender -- fans should focus on his great accomplishment inside of the cage this past weekend.
"I think everybody needs to leave this kid alone. 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."
Fair enough. Nonetheless, the question lingers. You should be the judge and see it for yourself right here.
Meanwhile, "Toquinho" is now slated to face Jon Fitch for the strap ... whenever that is.
We'll keep you posted on the details.