Family comes first.
That's the message from World Series of Fighting (WSOF) welterweight champion Rousimar Palhares, who withdrew from his upcoming title defense against fellow Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) castaway Jon Fitch, originally scheduled for July 5, 2014.
"Toquinho" released an official statement on Wednesday night (via MMA Fighting):
My friends, I love this sport, and will never give up on a fight. Accept any challenge, is the mark of a true warrior.
Unfortunately right now my family and I, we are facing a big fight, the fight for health, for life. My mother had 13 children, and devoted her life to educate and raised me, my brothers and sisters. At this point God tells me that I need to focus 100 percent of my life to take care of my mother. I'm doing everything possible, dedicating myself to the fullest in order to ensure that the person who put me in this world will be health again.
It wouldn't be fair to Jon Fitch, to the fans that look up to me, and also with the WSOF if I go out there to performance myself without being in the best of my shape, technique and psychological conditions. It wouldn't be fair to the MMA, our sport always determines that the athlete should be at his best limit to compete, it is no room for a mistake.
I understand that in the business field and as the capitalist world that we live in today that decision may not please everyone, but I'm a human being just like everyone else. As a good son it's time for me to take care of my mother, she needs me.
For more on Palhares' withdrawal click here.
Following the fight card shake up, WSOF Executive Vice President Ali Abdel-Aziz issued a warning to the mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters under his employ, promising "no more Mr. Nice Guy" moving forward, since the promotion -- by his word -- continues to get "screwed."
With the Brazilian on the sidelines until further notice, WSOF is trying to book Fitch against recent UFC import Jake Shields, but nothing is official at this time.