For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past week, Rousimar Palhares has been cut from the UFC for “unsportsmanlike conduct”. Palhares was able to grab onto his opponent, Mike Pierce, and twist his leg into a vicious heel hook. The problem was that Pierce tapped eight times and Palhares did not let go of the hold.
The referee stepped in and tried to separate the hold, but Palhares still held on for another second. To be completely honest, it looked really bad. Could Palhares just have been fired up? Sure. Could he have let go earlier? Of course. He did not though and was cut for it.
My question is how will this affect other fighters’ aggression? Let’s face the fact here — the sport is brutal. It is a sport where the aggressor and the fighter who attacks more usually ends up winning the bout. Will this cut make some people pull back on those punches when the referee is running over?
To be honest, I do not think it will. There are plenty of people who have done the exact opposite of what Palhares has done. Anthony Pettis immediately let go of Ben Henderson’s arm when he heard a verbal tap. The referee did not step in, but Pettis heard it and let go.
What about with knockouts? Fighters will consistently hit someone until the referee pulls them off because they do not want the other fighter to recover. Will this stop? I doubt it. Again, plenty of fighters have stopped when they saw that their opponents were out of it. Brian Stann received a lot of praise when he stopped punching Alessio Sakara because he knew he was out.
I do not see this effecting other fighters’ aggression. The bottom line is that these athletes are professionals. They know that the bout is only a competition and most of them do not want to seriously injure the other fighter. The cut was a bold move, but I believe that this will only have a positive impact on the UFC moving forward.