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5 of the most infamous fighters in UFC history

Scott Newman
SENIOR ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
948   //    Timeless

Jon Jones has become infamous as of late for his failed drug tests
Jon Jones has become infamous as of late for his failed drug tests

The UFC has seen hundreds of fighters pass through the Octagon over its 25-year history, and while some have seen huge success and fame during their run in the promotion, others have become infamous for various reasons.

Sometimes this infamy translates to even bigger stardom, while other times it only results in a negative outcome both for the fighter and the UFC. It’s impossible to totally list all of the fighters who became infamous during their time in the UFC, but the following 5 truly stand out for various reasons.

#1 Rousimar Palhares – infamous for holding onto submissions for too long

Rousimar Palhares rose to infamy for holding onto submissions for too long
Rousimar Palhares rose to infamy for holding onto submissions for too long

Despite the UFC initially being built on the success of the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu expert Royce Gracie, in the modern UFC, submission specialists are pretty few and far between. Demian Maia and Charles Oliveira are probably the most successful submission artists in recent years, but perhaps the most feared submission artist in the modern-day UFC was Rousimar ‘Toquinho’ Palhares.

The stocky Brazilian fought in the UFC from 2008 through to 2013, but despite success in both the Middleweight and Welterweight divisions, he was released from the promotion after becoming infamous for a pretty nasty reason – he simply wouldn’t let his submissions go after his opponent tapped out.

‘Toquinho’ bought a reputation for injuring his opponents with him into the UFC, but his first few fights were relatively quiet on that front. That was until UFC 111, when he continued to wrench on a heel hook applied to Tomasz Drwal despite the Polish fighter tapping out. Drwal was left with an injured knee, and Palhares wound up being suspended for 90 days for the unsportsmanlike infraction.

Not that it stopped him – submissions of David Branch and Mike Massenzio were semi-controversial as he only released them at the last possible second, but a 2013 win over Mike Pierce was a repeat of the Drwal incident, complete with the same heel hook submission.

That earned the Brazilian his release, but his infamy continued on the smaller circuit, where he got into hot water for holding another heel hook for too long on Jon Fitch, and then for repeated fouls against Jake Shields. Despite a real slide as of late – he’s lost 4 of his last 6 fights – Palhares remains one of the most infamous fighters in the sport.

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