Rousimar Palhares is built like a superhero. | Photo: Sherdog.com
What do you say when a fighter gets his opponent in trouble, then walks away and celebrates as though he has won the fight even though he has not? Call it “The Palhares,” or the “Paul Harris,” if you are into internet memes.
In a strange scene that unfolded in the first round of his bout with Dan Miller at UFC 134 on Saturday in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Rousimar Palhares floored his foe with a thumping head kick and then proceeded to flurry on the downed Miller. In the unfolding sequence of events, Miller pushed Palhares away with an arm, perhaps prompting the Brazilian to think a tapout or stoppage had occurred.
However, it had not. Weirdly, since Palhares had strolled away, for a moment, Miller seemed to think referee Herb Dean had stopped the bout and looked disgusted. Dean clearly had done no such thing, and after a talking-to, he set Palhares straight. In the ensuing action, Palhares pounded out a decision that made the first-round weirdness a unique footnote to the sport -- and hopefully one that will not be repeated.
Built like a superhero and possessed of considerable physical gifts, Palhares has a track record of bad decision making in terms of listening to the referee. Against Nate Marquardt, he turned to complain that the former middleweight King of Pancrase was greasing, only to get knocked out immediately. It was a significant setback for him, coming into the main event of a UFC Fight Night he very well could have won. In a heel hook submission win over Tomasz Drwal, Palhares held the submission so long after referee Kevin Mulhall intervened that he was suspended afterward.
In the Miller bout, he grabbed the fence several times and punched Miller after the end of the first round; Dean would have been justified to deduct a point for his general defiance of the rules. It had no bearing on the match, which he won handily, but one can only hope he will get a handle on his emotions and decision making, lest it cost him again.
Jason Probst can be reached at Jason@jasonprobst.com or twitter.com/jasonprobst.