Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me six times, shame on me.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) is not having a good week in the news department. World Series of Fighting (WSOF) welterweight Jon Fitch told MMAJunkie.com that notorious leg collector Rousimar Palhares should never have been able to continue hurting fighters after his first few offences, questioning the oversight of the NSAC in protecting fighters.
"He's taken a lot of dirty shots at people, holding onto submissions," said Fitch. "He held on to mine I think a little bit too long. But I think the blame falls on the commission. I'm going to blame the commission first."
Fitch, 26-7-1, had a fairly remarkable 14-3-1 record in UFC but was cut in 2013 following a lopsided loss to Demian Maia. The 37-year-old signed with WSOF shortly afterward and soon earned a title shot against Palhares at WSOF 16 last December.
He lost that fight via kneebar in just a minute and 30 seconds into round 1 (see the gruesome replay here), however the controversy once again resurfaced when Fitch accused the Brazilian of holding onto the submission too long.
But rather than blame Palhares, Fitch said the NSAC hasn't clamped down on the behavior after six separate incidents, suggesting it's not viewed as importantly as other offences. He asked rhetorically where Palhares would be after testing positive six times to marijuana, a reference to Nick Diaz receiving a five year ban from the sport after being caught three times.
"Toquinho" has a long rap sheet when it comes to holding on to submissions too long throughout his MMA career. At UFC 111, Palhares defeated Tomasz Drwal by heel hook 45 seconds into the first round. He was subsequently suspended for 90 days for continuing to crank on the submission even after Drwal had furiously tapped and referee Kevin Mulhall tried to pull the two apart.
Three years later he lost his job in UFC after pulling the exact same move on Mike Pierce at UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. Shields.
The veteran fighter also pointed out that American Kickboxing Academy teammate Mike Kyle was suspended two years by the NSAC for continuing to punch his opponent Brian Olsen at WEC 20 in 2006 after the fight was ended.
"That never happened with Palhares. He never learned his lesson. He was never taught a lesson. If you're not going to punish a guy for his actions he's just going to continue to keep doing it."
Fitch said the commission is also to blame for fighters who have had to take time out of their careers due to long injuries received at the hands of Palhares. You can count Fitch among that company, who has not been able to compete since Dec. 13, 2014 because of the damage done in the title fight.
"I still have a little bit of a limp in my leg. It'll probably be there forever, you know?"
Palhares is currently under suspension from NSAC pending the outcome of an inquiry into yet another dirty submission finish, this time over Jake Shields at WSOF (more gruesome video evidence here).
Fitch concluded that the sport would be better off with a national commission to govern combat sports, or better yet, to go the route of sports like NHL, NFL and MLB and simply have player associations.
Of course, that's a whole other kettle of fish right there.