At least that’s the impression we get from their recent decision not to sign him. Bjorn Rebney told TMZ the following about why
he his Viacom puppet master decided to pass on Palhares:
“Risks already exist for the courageous, world class fighters who either enter the Bellator cage; without adding further unnecessary risks into the mix. Fighter safety is paramount to me and my team.”
That eliminates one destination for the recently disgraced Palhares — MMA’s version of Lenny from Of Mice and Men. Maybe he’ll go to World Series of Fighting, although Jon Fitch has already refused a hypothetical fight against him due to safety concerns. But it seems like Bellator missed a good catch here. Palhares is a talented fighter coming off a win. He had tons of heat, so the signing would’ve generated tons of press — for a Bellator signing, anyway — or at least more press than signing a UFC castaway whose career highlight is getting kicked in the face.
Palhares (or his people) sensed that he was becoming damaged goods. Consequently, he issued an explanation/apology yesterday:
In case you don’t feel like watching the whole thing, here’s the important part — Palhares’ explanation for holding in the submission against Mike Pierce too long:
When the referee took his hand off, it was precisely the time that I was turning to pick up the foot and the heel. When I finished spinning, the referee was able to take his hand off the grid and he fell. When he sat down, the referee had to go to the other side, and that transition took two seconds…the referee stepped in front, and he kept tapping on the back of the referee, not on me. I only saw that in the film, nor have I seen it at fight time. The only thing I saw was the referee coming down on me, understood?
You happy with that explanation? Pierce is still a little upset, especially off the back of a 180-day medical suspension. He told MMAFighting.com that he was still “really pissed off right now.” Pierce has yet to have an MRI to assess the extent of the damage to his knee and ankle.
But what’s going to happen with Palhares? That’s anyone’s guess. The highest rated comment on Palhares’ apology video was on the right track: “Have fun in Jungle Fights, you fucking psycho.”