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WSOF Matchmaker Says Palhares May Get Title Shot Upon Return

October 30, 2015 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas

WSOF matchmaker Ali Abdelaziz spoke with MMAjunkie following Rousimar Palhares getting a two-year suspension and $40,000 fine from the NSAC for holding onto his submission too long against Jake Shields at WSOF 22. Check out the highlights:

On the NSAC’s suspension of Palhares: “It’s a sad day for me personally, because I don’t get to see one of the best welterweights in the world compete in the cage, because Palhares is one of the best welterweights. I’ll personally be looking forward to him getting back in the cage in the WSOF, but now he has to pay his dues.”

On Palhares’ claim that he couldn’t see the ref and thus didn’t release the hold: “All Palhares needed to do was show up and say the truth of what they know, because I talked to Alex and (Antonio Rodrigo) Nogueira, and they say he’s seeing a therapist. He’s tried to get help. We recognize he has problems; everybody knows he has problems. It’s more mental than anything else, and just saying I wasn’t suspended by New Jersey is crazy, because he was. This is on the record and they have the record. Clearly, the NSAC did their homework, but Palhares’ team didn’t do their work.”

On what Palhares could have done for himself: “I think all the commission wanted to hear was, ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt Jake Shields, I’m getting some help, and I know I have a problem.’ I think he would have gotten a lighter sentence. I think the biggest mistake they did was bringing (referee) John McCarthy. John is going to say it how it is. They dug a bigger hole for themselves.”

On his personal experiences with Palhares: “I know Palhares and I’ve been around him for a long time; you can’t meet a nicer guy than him. He does have a little problem, but I feel for the guy. He’s 35, he’s going to come back at 37, he’s going to have no income, he lives in Brazil, his financial situation I know is not great, and he has to pay $40,000 to the athletic commission. But this is why in America, you have rules and regulations. We need the commissions, and we need the sport to become a mainstream sport and have people respect each other in the cage. I just feel bad, because I know what kind of person Palhares is.”

On whether Palhares will pick up where he left off when he comes back: “I don’t know. I’ve got a lot of contenders being built up. To me, the title got taken away from him for his behavior. He beat Jake Shields. Jake Shields lost this fight to Palhares because he was fading away and Palhares beat him. I think if he’s OK, and I know 100 percent that he’s OK mentally, he deserves a title shot, because he was a champ and he never lost the title. It’s the same thing with Jon Jones; nobody can deny him a title shot because he was the champ.”