Farewell, Filho

Written by Tom Ngo
November 18th, 2008

Zuffa, LLC, the parent company of the UFC and the WEC, has released troubled middleweight Paulo Filho from his contract. Although the Brazilian holds an impressive 16-1 professional record, his life and career seem to have fallen off the tracks within the last year. The WEC will be dissolving the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions in 2009, with the most talented fighters receiving promotions to the UFC, however Filho will now have to find a new home.

Although Filho will officially go down as the WEC’s last middleweight champion, he lost his final bout for the promotion earlier this month. In fact,  WEC 36 was a humiliating weekend for the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu wizard.

Not only did Filho fail to make the required 185-pound weight limit in his rematch against Chael Sonnen, he initially missed it by an astonishing seven pounds. He was granted a two hour window to lose the remaining weight, only to find himself still four pounds over the limit.

Due to Filho’s lack of professionalism, the bout changed from a five-round title fight to a three-round non-title affair. Filho was also forced to fork over 25% of his purse to Sonnen for not making weight.

Filho only made matters worse once he actually stepped into the cage. In three of the most boring and uneventful rounds imaginable, the champion failed to show up. He clearly was not in shape, and looked disinterested and lethargic throughout the bout.

He spent most of the fight intentionally laying on his back, daring the challenger to engage him on the ground. Obviously, Sonnen wasn’t about to fall for the same trick that cost him a controversial submission loss in their first matchup last December.

“It threw me off,” Sonnen said after the fight. “Every time I envisioned the match and played it out through my head … the different scenarios … I never once envisioned him not fighting back. I never envisioned him just laying there. I didn’t know what to do. It was similar to being at a dance with a partner who doesn’t know how to dance.”

Earlier this year, the WEC was forced to postpone this rematch because Filho was dealing with depression issues. Based on his physical appearance and his performance at WEC 36, it certainly looks as though he is still be battling those demons.

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