Rousimar Palhares took the first step towards ending his addiction to dirty fighting. He admitted he had a problem.
The confession went down on MMA Fighting's The MMA Hour.
Speaking with Ariel Helwani, the free-agent middleweight-turned-welterweight opened up on his extracurricular torquing of Mike Pierce's knee at UFC Fight Night 30, saying, "No, I did not want to hurt him. In the heat of the fight, I did not feel him tap and afterwards, when I watched the fight, I realized that I held on too long, but I really did not mean to hurt him."
Not so fast on calls to bring him back to the UFC, though. He went on to hint that it isn't really his fault, and he came short on saying he was going to change.
"I think it has a lot to do with my style, I am really aggressive when I go after submissions. There have been times where I do not hold on and people get out and then I lose the fight. I am the way I fight. I'm getting better and been working a lot on this, but, this is my style."
Palhares is a fierce Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner, both in MMA and grappling competitions. At UFC Fight Night 30, he whipped up a storm of controversy when he inflicted a serious knee injury to a resurgent Mike Pierce by refusing to let go of an ankle lock even after the referee tried to intervene.
You can see the video of the offense here:
This brought increased scrutiny on his previous suspension for a similar offense at UFC 111, where he held a heel hook on Tomasz Drwal for an excessive length of time (which earned him a 90-day slap).
It also brought numerous fighters, promoters and gym mates out of the woodworks, discussing previous instances of him seemingly intentionally injuring opponents.
He was initially unrepentant, blaming Mike Pierce and the referee for it. He has now flip-flopped following declarations from the Presidents of the UFC's biggest rivals—World Series of Fighting and Bellator—that he will not be employed by their promotions.
Palhares is currently suspended, but will almost certainly get contract offers once he can get sanctioned by commissions. For better or worse, his name value is at an all time high.