Johnathan Ivey. If you’re an MMA fan and you don’t know that name, you’re really a football fan who likes MMA sometimes. He’s been around the sport longer than you, fought more people than you (or probably anyone you know) and has definitely won more fights by leglock than you — 28 to be exact.
Now-former WSOF welterweight champ Rousimar Palhares has won 11 fights via some form of leglock. And he often holds onto them too long in many people’s opinion, often causing serious injury. Jon Fitch was his last leglock victim back in December and it looked very painful:
Palhares was back in the news this week after eye-gouging Jake Shields multiple times and ultimately submitting him with a kimura that once again some people thought he held too long after the referee’s intervention.
With all the controversy now surrounding Palhares and his latest fight, we decided to ask the “Leglock Monster” himself Johnathon Ivey his thoughts on “Toquinho”. After all — not only does Ivey hold the leglock crown — look who he has tattooed on his leg:
Therefore, John Ivey is qualified to speak on this subject and I wanted to hear his opinion. Here it goes just as it was received:
“Rousimar is my second all time favorite fighter. I love the way he fights. I’m kinda bias I love short dudes that dive for legs. :) I just fought last weekend and I had been busy preparing for my fight so I didn’t get a chance to watch his fight with Jake.
“In the past I thought Rousimar may have held onto legs a second too long but it’s hard to say. A professional fighter should never let go of a submission when his opponent taps out. He should always wait until the ref tells him to stop. Then when the ref tells a fighter to stop you should expect about a second for the fighter to acknowledge the ref and release the lock.
“Sometimes bad things happen, but we are fighting not knitting a sweater….in December of last year my opponent was injured while I had him in a kneebar, after he tapped it took a second for the ref to see it and then it took a second for the ref to tell me he seen the tap. I let go but the damage was done.
“Earlier in my career I released locks as soon as I felt a tap, just to have the ref say he didn’t see a tap and to restart us. That will never happen to me again. Do I agree with holding submissions after the ref tells you to let go? No! But Rousimar is so much more than that. I look up to him for the way he attacks legs, there are only a few of us in the world that attack legs that way.
“I have had opponents grease their legs in the past, and I have seen where Rousimar has said that he felt Jake was greased. If so then that is a shame. I plan on watching the fight as soon as I get a chance to see about the eye gouges and things. But Rousimar is a hero of mine, even to the point that I got him tattooed on my leg. I hope I answered your question Jack. It’s nice to hear from you. You’ve been around the sport for a long time.”
There you have it. Thanks John.
Do you agree with the “Leglock Monster” or has Palhares got to go? Is it possible to appreciate Palhares’ fighting and submission abilities while also admitting that he needs to learn to abide by the rules of the sport he’s involved in — or face consequences? Of course. And WSOF has stripped him of his title and is waiting on a ruling from the Nevada Athletic Commission before they make a permanent decision on his future with the organization.
Check out Big John Ivey’s most recent fight, a 22-second — you guessed it — kneebar win over Mike Martinez at Island Fights 34 this past December: