The World Series of Fighting 22 main event between Rousimar Palhares and Jake Shields is perhaps one of the most controversial fights of the year. 'Toquinho' locked up a fight-ending kimura on Shields in the third round to retain the welterweight title but was stripped of his championship on Tuesday for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Brazilian was penalised for gouging Shields' eyes and holding onto the submission after referee Steve Mazzagatti had intervened. Former UFC title-challenger Jake Shields had also tapped several times but his surrender only spurred Palhares on to apply extra torque to the submission. After the submission ace released the kimura, Shields punched his opponent after the bell, which has left the NSAC with no choice but to suspend the American indefinitely, Palhares will also serve a temporary suspension.
Palhares's actions in particular have sent the MMA world into a frenzy. Several MMA fighters immediately took to Twitter after the bout to rally for a lifetime ban of the former UFC contender. Yet, amidst all the backlash, the Rio de Janeiro local feels he's done nothing wrong. Instead Rousimar tried to deflect criticism by accusing Jake Shields of cheating during their championship clash. According to Toquinho, his opponent was smothered in vaseline.
"Jake Shields is unbelievable. He's a total a******. I couldn't believe someone could be such an a******. He has no respect for me, for the sport, for anyone. He's dishonest. He had Vaseline all over his body, he was more slippery than an okra. I couldn't grab a hold of him for nothing."
Shields also accused "Toquinho" of gouging his eyes, but Palhares fired back specifically deflecting the charge that he repeatedly and maliciously gouged Shields in the eyes, instead suggesting it was his opponent who is to blame after trying to recreate the ending to Mark Kerr vs. Dan Bobish at UFC 14.
"I never gouged his eyes. I was pushing his face because he was hitting my eyes with his chin. He says his eyes were like that because I eye gouged him, but how about my kicks and punches? Is he crazy? I beat him up, tapped him, and he's saying I did that because I eye gouged him? That's pure crap."
It seems the war of words between the isn’t going to stop anytime soon, but one thing’s certain. Both of the fighters remain suspended until at least September pending a review by Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC).