Surprise, surprise: acting crazy in MMA doesn’t always make people doubt you

Lesson of the day: lacking empathy and ethics can only make most people doubt you. But all it takes is one.

You may remember Rousimar Palhares – he’s the fighter who in October was released from the UFC following a win over Mike Pierce. How does one get released after a win? It’s easy. Lock in a heel hook, hold the lock even after the tap and further hold it as the referee dives on you to break the lock.

Just the same way that any other professional sports league operates, athletes with character issues need only one employer to get a job. How long they last in that job is their choice and in the case of Palhares, his stint in the UFC didn’t last because of bad choices. New life may await elsewhere.

MMAJunkie.com spoke with World Series of Fighting President Ray Sefo regarding that promotions’ stance on Palhares and he had this to say:

“Initially, I’ll admit I didn’t think World Series of Fighting should even entertain the idea of bring Palhares on board. But I’ve been speaking with our team, as well as some people I trust throughout the industry, and I’m not so sure he doesn’t deserve another chance.

“We haven’t made any concrete decisions just yet, but I think maybe Palhares could be a valuable part of our organization.”

Got it. So in a sport rife with dangers to its competitors – which can leave fighters with damage to virtually every inch of their bodies – a man with a history of erratic behavior that has harmed his opponents (and according to former training coaches, teammates) in both borderline and illegal fashion is ‘valuable’ and deserving of another chance.

Paging capitalists: when money is involved, everyone is valuable.

What is alarming about Palhares history is not only his actions towards opponents but his bizarre actions in general. Against Nate Marquardt, he tried to lock in a heel hook and after his opponent slipped out of it, while prone on his back, he turned to the referee to complain and was promptly knocked out. Later against Dan Miller, after knocking Miller down, he inexplicably stopped fighting and leaped onto the cage to celebrate – though the fight had not been awarded to him by stoppage or tap out.

Despite all this, Sefo apparently was swayed by comments made by MMA legend, Renzo Gracie.

“I really didn’t think he held it too long,” Gracie said. “You have to understand, especially heel hooks, it is a finishing hold that you can lose at any time. He can lose the position at any time, and the next thing you’ll see the guy is going to claim that he didn’t tap and everything is gone. So he really needs to add intensity on it. Unfortunately, people saw it with poor eyes.

Those comments, though, do not reconcile how such a controversy can be amended after the fact.It does not reconcile how Palhares should have been paying attention to Pierce for the tap, he should have been paying attention to the referee for the call and should have been acutely aware of a second human being throwing them self on him. There is no excuse while driving to not notice oncoming cars and pedestrians should you choose to barrel through a yellow light while driving so how in the world can Palhares be excused for being aware of actions happening inches in front of him?

The situation with WSOF is made worse since Sefo admitted in the interview  to being “…a little outraged at first.” after the incident.He also doesn;t think Palhares is a “…bad human bring.”

Being a bad human being is a loaded idea just as the same as anyone being a perfect human being is. The facts are Palhares may not be a bad human being but he can still be an idiot without much regard for the safety of his training partners of competitors. That doesn’t take being a bad human being so much as having a frame of mind that MMA fighters know the risks of their jobs and inherit them. If you approach a fight that way, you’ll go through a wall to win a fight – though you needn’t have to.

The dangers of MMA are extreme enough. A person who themselves is willing to exacerbate those extremes should not be fighting anywhere – no matter how much money they can someone.