LAS VEGAS -- For the second time in his career, Rousimar Palhares has been suspended by a state athletic commission for holding a submission too long.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission suspended Palhares (18-6) for two years and fined him $40,000 on Thursday for failing to release a kimura during a successful WSOF welterweight title defense against Jake Shields on Aug. 1. Prior to this week's disciplinary hearing, WSOF had already stripped Palhares of his title due to the violation, but he remains under contract.
In 2010, the New Jersey Athletic Control Board suspended Palhares 90 days for holding a heel hook too long in a win against Tomasz Drwal in the UFC. The UFC released Palhares in 2013, after a similar situation occurred in a fight against Mike Pierce. California State Athletic Commission executive director Andy Foster verbally reprimanded Palhares in yet another case in December, but did not issue any punishment.
Palhares, 35, participated in the hearing via video conference call. Through his manager and interpreter Alex Davis, Palhares claimed he held the shoulder lock on Shields as long as he did because referee Steve Mazzagatti was not in his field of vision when he stepped in to stop the fight. Palhares said he wasn't sure whether it was Shields tapping him on the back or if it was Mazzagatti.
The defense failed to impress the NSAC, as Mazzagatti testified he had spoken to Palhares prior to the fight and warned him the commission was concerned about his previous violations. Mazzagatti also stated he yelled for Palhares to stop, which was confirmed on video replay.
Veteran referee John McCarthy, who was in attendance for the hearing for another matter, testified that in his opinion, Palhares rotated the shoulder lock approximately 14 inches after Shields' initial tap. McCarthy said that kind of rotation could cause serious damage to Shields' ligaments. Shields, 36, told the NSAC during a hearing last month he was still feeling negative effects from the hold.
Shields, who was sentenced to community service for hitting Palhares after the bell, also complained of repeated eye-gouges during the fight, however the NSAC did not address that issue.