UFC middleweight fighter Rousimar Palhares was less than gracious in defeat last night at Ultimate Fight Night 22, where he was TKO’d by Greg Jackson-trained fighter Nate “The Great” Marquardt.
“Toquinho” is known for his vicious heel hooks and the conventional wisdom in MMA circles is that once the stocky Brazilian gets ahold of an ankle, he is going to crank away until the referee stops the fight or permanent damage is done. Early on in their main event bout, Palhares dropped back for one of his patented leg locks which Marquardt deftly escaped from. Palhares immediately pointed to the referee, attempting to relay that he felt Marquardt was illegally greased up and that is how he escaped the submission. The split-second lapse in judgement cost Palhares the fight, as Marquardt pounded him in the face and continued until the referee was forced to stop the action. After the fight, Palhares again indicated that he believed Marquardt was greasing but later on spoke with MMAJunkie.com and retracted those accusations.
“I’m very sorry for the accusations I made,” he said. “Nate Marquardt did not cheat in any way, and I’m very sorry to him and his team for my actions in the fight.”
Palhares told MMAJunkie that he learned an important lesson in this fight, presumably not to leave himself open to attack while attempting to signal the referee, and also congratulated Marquardt on the victory.
“I congratulate Nate on his win,” Palhares said. “I learned another lesson for my career in the fight, and I apologize to Nate, his team and the UFC for any issues I contributed to.
“Nate is not a dirty fighter, and I was wrong to accuse him of cheating in any way.”
After Palhares signaled to referee Herb Dean that Marquardt was cheating, Dean checked his legs and brought in the athletic commissioner to examine the fighter’s legs as well. All was determined to be on the up and up and Palhares’ manager, Alex Davis, also determined that Marquardt was not cheating; telling MMAJunkie that “Toquinho” has developed a kind of paranoia in relation to greasing.
“Rousimar has had to deal with opponents greasing before,” Davis said. “I truly believe it’s turned into a paranoia for him. When Nate’s leg slipped out so quickly, Rousimar froze. You could tell he was just thinking, ‘Here we go again.’ But I looked at Nate’s legs myself. The commission checked them out, too. There was certainly no grease there. It was our error, and we owe Nate an apology, as well as Greg Jackson and the rest of his coaches and team.”
Marquardt’s victory was slightly marred by Palhares’ accusations but the fact remains that “The Great” scored a solid win over a tough competitor and will now move one step closer to the title shot that he craves. Palhares’ stock drops with the loss and because of the unsportsmanlike behavior with which he originally accepted it but, although his apology doesn’t erase the stinging accusation, the fact that he admitted he was wrong does count for something.