Still Under WSOF Contract, Rousimar ‘Toquinho’ Palhares Signs with Venator FC

By Tristen Critchfield Mar 22, 2016

With Jason “Mayhem” Miller already in tow, Venator FC is attempting to sign another controversial fighter.

The Italian mixed martial arts promotion announced on Tuesday that it has booked Rousimar Palhares to face Emil Meek on May 21 at Venator FC 3 in Milan. Palhares will fight Meek for the Venator FC welterweight title, but there could be some complications along the way.

Palhares remains under contract with World Series of Fighting, and according to a report from, any attempt by the Brazilian to compete for another organization would be a violation of that deal.

Apparently that agreement is of little concern to Venator President Frank Merenda, who issued a colorful statement on the situation via Facebook.

“Anyway, we don’t give a f--k about WSOF. He will fight for us because we love him, Italian fans love him and he has a family and deserves to make a living,” wrote Merenda, who previously blasted media for criticizing the promotion’s recent signing of Miller. “I’m sick with organizations that try to ruin other people’s [lives]. Toquinho is a Venator FC fighter right now.”

Palhares was stripped of his WSOF welterweight title and suspended indefinitely for failing to release a kimura in a timely manner against Jake Shields at WSOF 22 last August. At the time, WSOF President Ray Sefo said it was possible that Palhares might not fight for the promotion again. The leg lock specialist was later suspended for two years and fined $40,000 by the Nevada Athletic Commission.

Alex Davis, Palhares’ manager, told that he believes the fighter’s WSOF contract is void and that the UFC veteran has to fight in order to provide for his family.

Palhares has a well-documented history of holding onto submissions for too long. He was released from the UFC in October 2013 for failing to let go of a heel hook in a timely fashion after Mike Pierce tapped to the maneuver 31 seconds into their encounter at UFC Fight Night “Maia vs. Shields.” It was the second such instance for Palhares in the Octagon, as he was suspended 90 days in 2010 by the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board for cranking the same hold longer than necessary against Tomasz Drwal.

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