Why Rousimar “Paul Harris” Palhares + Steve “Mazz” Mazzagatti is Bad for the Sport

Rousimar Palhares

Meanwhile, in Las Vegas…


I’m an “I just came here to read the comments” kind of guy. And last Saturday’s WSOF 22 was the kind of event that gets the keyboard warriors all worked up.

For its main event, UFC veterans Rousimar “Toquinho” Palhares and Jake Shields competed for the World Series of Fighting’s welterweight title, Palhares’ second defense after winning the belt from Steve Carl March of last year. Shields dominated the first two rounds. He looked to be doing the same in the third when Palhares swept him out of nowhere, caught him in a kimura, cranked it – prompting Shields to tap 9 times – and cranked some more.

On Rousimar Palhares

It was a masterful display of technique muddled with a horrendous showing of sportsmanship.

The Brazilian, whose surname American MMA fans wittingly misspell as “Paul Harris”, is notorious for holding onto submissions after a stoppage. He was first suspended for not letting go of a heel hook submission against Tomasz Drwal in UFC 111. His second offense, yet another protracted heel hook on Mike Pierce, led to the termination of his contract with the UFC.

Following his release, WSOF VP Ali Abdel-Aziz took the gamble and signed the dangerous Brazilian under their budding promotion. “You have to understand, I’m the guy who f–king stood up for him,” a pissed Abdel-Aziz reminded media during the fallout of what was overall a great night of fights. “I’m the guy who said, ‘You know what, I’m going to sign him,'” continued Abdel-Aziz. “We had an amazing event, and he didn’t have to hold (the submission late). He didn’t have to hold at all because he won, he tapped him. Let him go. Let the guy go.”

Thing is, not letting the kimura go was only one of the two (sets of) infractions Palhares committed that night. A new wrinkle to Toquinho’s dirty game came during the second round when he repeatedly gouged Jake’s eyes while Shields was on top.