Rousimar Palhares' manager understands if World Series of Fighting wants to strip his client of their welterweight title. He gets if they want to release Palhares from his contract.
But Alex Davis said there is no way WSOF can suspend Palhares indefinitely.
WSOF president Ray Sefo announced Monday on The MMA Hour that Palhares would be stripped of the belt and suspended indefinitely after gouging Jake Shields' eyes multiple times and holding onto a kimura submission too long in the WSOF 22 main event Saturday in Las Vegas.
Davis is taking umbrage with the "indefinite" point, he told Ariel Helwani later in the show.
"I have an issue with that," Davis said. "If I murder somebody, I get put into jail for life or for 20 years, right? But not indefinitely, correct?"
Davis said Palhares' contract with WSOF explicitly states that a suspension would have to come with a "reasonable" timetable. Davis said indefinite is not reasonable.
"This is legally wrong," Davis said. "My attitude is, I get it. WSOF came under a lot of pressure from their fans. They have to respect their fans.
"If they don't want Rousimar as their champion, that's their right. If they don't want Rousimar fighting anymore in their promotion, that's their right, too. Just end the contract."
Davis is also not pleased that Sefo announced the suspension and the stripping of the title on The MMA Hour before informing him and Palhares of it first. Davis said that also goes against Palhares' contract with WSOF.
WSOF's indefinite suspension of Palhares is pending a review by the Nevada Athletic Commission. Palhares is expected to come in front of the NAC for a disciplinary hearing at its next meeting Aug. 13, though nothing is official yet.
"I'm not gonna let WSOF suspend Rousimar indefinitely to the point where he can't go someplace else and make his living," Davis said. "We will abide by whatever Nevada says, whatever their position is we're gonna abide by it. But the way this was put out was completely wrong and I really don't appreciate the way it came out. I think if Ray was going to do something, he should have called me first and then gone out in the media as it states in the contract."
Shields also must face some kind of penalty, Davis said. Shields punched Palhares after the bell in retaliation for the late submission and the eye gouging. NAC executive director Bob Bennett told MMAFighting.com on Monday that it would indeed be looking at Shields for unsportsmanlike conduct as well. Shields is also expected to come before the commission later this month.
"At the same time, if we're going to punish Rousimar for holding onto a submission or cranking it too far or touching Jake Shields' eyes more than once, we also need to punish Jake Shields for punching him after the fight," Davis said. "I mean, we've gotta be fair."
Palhares is a multiple-time offender when it comes to keeping submissions on too long after the referee stops the fight. He was cut by the UFC in 2013 for continuing to crank a leglock on Mike Pierce after the bell. In his last bout, Palhares was accused of doing the same thing to Jon Fitch, but the California State Athletic Commission did not take any action against him.
Palhares, 35, was suspended in New Jersey for the same transgression of holding onto a submission too long in 2010. He also been suspended for a failed drug test.
"The problem with Rousimar to me is that he cranks those submissions way past what he needs to be doing," Davis said. "It's not so much the time that he holds on. It's as far as he takes them. And it injures and it's really not necessary. And I agree with everybody else on that one."
Davis said that a big part of Palhares' training has been attempting to not continue submissions after the fight is over.
"In that moment when he's fighting, it's called fight rage, he just zones out," Davis said. "He gets that submission and he goes after it and wants to finish it. In his heart, he doesn't think that he's doing anything wrong."
WSOF disagrees and Davis partly does, too. He just doesn't think the promotion has gone about things the correct way.
"They need to let the athletic commission come out and suspend him and then take action -- and not come out the media and try to look good doing something legally they cannot do," Davis said. "Legally, they can't do this."
MMA Hour: WSOF president Ray Sefo announced Rousimar Palhares' indefinite suspension on the MMA Hour