Unfortunately, the biggest story coming out of last week’s Ultimate Fight Night 22 event was not Cole Miller’s upset victory over Ross Pearson or 20-year old Charles Oliveira’s impressive submission win over Efrain Escudero; it wasn’t even Jim Miller scoring his fifth win in a row with a hard-fought decision victory over Gleison Tibau. It was, as top stories often are, a narrative with a much more negative focus: Rousimar Palhares’ mid-fight accusation that opponent Nate “The Great” Marquardt had greased his legs to avoid the Brazilian’s vaunted leg lock arsenal.
Basically, Palhares rolled for a heel hook, Marquardt slipped out and, when an incredulous Palhares stopped defending himself to point out to the referee the dubious ease with which Marquardt escaped his submission attempt, “The Great” turned his opponent’s rookie mistake (protect yourselves at ALL times) into his door to victory, hammering away at the Brazilian fighter until the ref was forced to call it. Marquardt was then inspected by the referee and the state athletic commission and was deemed not to have cheated.
A former opponent of Marquardt’s and a dangerous submission artist in his own right, Demian Maia recently spoke with Tatame.com and vocied his opinion that, while some fighters certainly do employ illegal means by which to avoid submissions, he does not peg Marquardt as the type to do so.
“Man, I don’t [know], you can’t tell,” Maia said. “You can’t tell whether he had it or not, but later I heard he didn’t, but there’re athletes who do that indeed. I don’t know if Nate would do something like it, I don’t believe so.”
Maia said that he understands Palhares’ paranoia due to the fact that there are fighters currently competing who are not above cheating to avoid the strengths of opponents with vaunted submission games.
“But there’re athletes who do and it’s obviously wrong, they’re cheating, especially with Palhares, who has a great foot-lock,” he said. “Rousimar himself later said the guy really didn’t have it, so it really was a mistake.”