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WSOF Expected to Rule On Controversial Rousimar Palhares Win

<p>The Welterweight title fight between champion Rousimar Palhares and challenger Jake Shields at World Series of Fighting 22 on Saturday was embroiled in controversy, over several alleged eye pokes from Palhares, and allegations of poor refereeing from referee Steve Mazzagatti.</p> <p>The bout was the main event of the evening, ending in a submission victory for Palhares via kimura. However, at several points during the fight, Shields appeared to be the victim of several deliberate eye pokes at the hands of Palhares, with Mazzagatti issuing a warning - but, strangely, no point deduction - as Shields loudly protested, lashing out at both Palhares and Mazzagatti. Replays of the fight show Palhares’s open hands clearly running across Shields’s face, and Shields’s manager Tareq Azim posted an unpleasant photo of his heavily bruised eyelids on Instagram the next day and noted that Shields had been having trouble seeing out of either eye after the fight.</p> <p>The fight generated additional controversy right at the finish, as Palhares continued to crank the kimura he had Shields in several seconds after Shields tapped, only relenting when the referee stepped in. Shields threw a punch at Palhares’s face in retaliation, and Shields’s manager Azim had to be held back by security after charging at Palhares.</p> <p>Palhares’s actions engulfed discussion of the fight on Sunday, as Shields did several media appearances affirming that Palhares had gouged him repeatedly during the fight, while also heavily criticizing Mazzagatti’s refereeing for the fight, telling MMAFighting.com that Mazzagatti “blatantly ignored [him],” and calling him a “dirty cheater,” an accusation he’d thrown at Palhares during the build-up to the bout as well. Shields received significant support in fan circles, with numerous online communities condemning Palhares and calling for him to be banned from competing.</p> <p>In a more official capacity, WSOF vice president Ali Abdel-Aziz indicated that Palhares’s post-fight bonus had been withheld, and Abdel-Aziz announced on Twitter that the promotion would come to a decision on Tuesday after reviewing the fight to determine additional punishments for Palhares, potentially including suspension and being stripped of the welterweight championship. Abdel-Aziz also criticized Mazzagatti’s performance, telling MMAFighting.com that “he should’ve stopped the fight and taken a point from Rousimar Palhares.”</p> <p>Palhares is no stranger to this sort of controversy; he saw his UFC run come to an end after two instances of holding a submission excessively after the end of a fight, in 2010 against Tomasz Drwal at UFC 111, and in 2013 against Mike Pierce at UFC Fight Night 29. The former resulted in a 90-day suspension, and the latter, alongside a nine-month suspension for elevated testosterone in 2012 through 2013, brought about his release from the UFC. His contract with WSOF reportedly came with stern warnings and a “no-tolerance policy” related to his UFC conduct.</p> <p>Mazzagatti has a long and controversial history as a referee, with several waves of criticism coming from UFC president Dana White in particular. Mazzagatti has come under fire for numerous calls of a dubious nature, including awarding Kevin Burns a victory over Anthony Johnson at UFC Fight Night 14 following eyepokes by Burns, and giving Jon Jones his only loss by disqualification for 12-to-6 elbows in his fight with Matt Hamill. Fans on Twitter and Reddit were outraged over Mazzagatti’s apparent ignorance of Palhares’s eye gouging, and many called for his retirement or banning from WSOF.</p> <p>Shields, however, has faced his own share of controversy during his UFC career, prior to joining WSOF. Shields’s fight with Georges St-Pierre at USF 129 came under fire for alleged eye pokes from Shields to St-Pierre that may have interfered with St-Pierre’s ability to fight, though St-Pierre won by unanimous decision regardless. Shields also was suspended and fined following his bout with Ed Herman at UFC 150, after failing a drug test for using a banned diuretic, resulting in the win being overturned to a no contest.<p> <p>WSOF is expected to make an announcement on Tuesday regarding Palhares’s future with the promotion as its welterweight champion.</p>


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WSOF Expected to Rule On Controversial Rousimar Palhares Win - MMA News