twitter google

Despite non-title designation, still much at stake for Filho vs. Sonnen II

After weighing in at 192 pounds during his initial attempt in anticipation of tonight’s WEC middleweight title defense against Chael Sonnen, Brazilian Paulo Filho weighed in at 190 pounds yesterday afternoon during his second and final attempt.

By weighing in at five pounds over the 185 pound limit, Filho’s will be unable to defend his title against Sonnen. However, a three-round non-title encounter between the two combantants was agreed upon with Sonnen set to be awarded 25% of Filho’s purse, according to a report on the WEC’s official website.

Additionally, a report on MMA Weekly indicates that Filho’s camp has made verbal assurances to Sonnen’s trainer Matt Lindland that they will make a symbolic gesture of presenting Sonnen with the belt should he be able to defeat Filho.

While the relegation of tonight’s scheduled bout from a title encounter to a non-title affair has to be a disappointment to Sonnen, the fact is that Zuffa (the parent company of both the UFC and the WEC) officials had previously announced that it would be discontinuing the WEC’s 185 pound and 205 pound divisions following Dec. 3’s WEC 37 event. Even if tonight’s title designation had remained in tact, the winning fighter would cease to be recognized as the WEC middleweight champion once the impending middleweight shutdown was completed.

While a title will not be officially on the line, the stakes for tonight’s matchup between Filho and Sonnen could still be high. According to a report in a recent print edition of the Wrestling Observer, the winners of the WEC’s remaining middleweight and light heavyweight fights will be granted entry into the UFC with the losers expected to receive their releases from Zuffa, barring an exceptional showing.

For Filho, tonight’s fight could be crucial as it relates to his future in the sport. Despite being ranked as a top five middleweight in all major rankings polls, his stock has likely declined over the course of the past year due to lackluster performances in the cage and great deal of personal issues outside of it. His failure to make weight comes in light of reports earlier this year that Filho sought in-patient treatment for depression and a chemical dependency.

Filho’s personal setbacks forced two postponements of the rematch between him and Sonnen that had originally been scheduled for WEC 33 on March 6 in response to their controversial first meeting at WEC 31 last December. Following Filho’s in-patient treatment earlier this year, the bout was rescheduled for WEC 34 on June 1 but was postponed yet again due to Filho’s inability to properly prepare. It was postponed a third time this past September after the prospect of Hurricane Ike forced WEC 36 to be moved to Nov. 5.

Unless Filho performs well tonight, Zuffa officials could determine that his baggage outweighs his talents and that there is simply no room for him in the UFC. Filho has already made it clear that he has no intentions of fighting current UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva. He has also publicly discussed uncertainty about continuing to compete at middleweight, which would make him an undersized candidate for the promotion’s stacked light heavyweight division.

Filho’s perfect 16-0 record will also be on the line. While it may seem as though the added weight will give him an advantage, the jury is still out. From an asthetic standpoint, Filho did not appear to be in as good condition during Tuesday’s weigh-in as he has been in the past. The additional weight may not help as it could be an indication that he did not properly prepare for tonight’s bout.

  • They will show him a good faith gesture and hand him the belt. That should be out of his hands. It is one thing when a challenger doesn’t make weight, but if the champion doesn’t make weight it should be an automatic stripping of the belt! I realize that it will cease to exist after this fight but for someone like Sonnen this may be his only opportunity to win a major belt. Completely disrespectful on Filho’s part and his camps part!!! I hope Sonnen knocks him out cold!

  • Davey D says:

    I think it is only right should Sonnen win, he gets to keep the belt. He gets 25% of Paulo’s purse so that takes care of the weight issue a little bit. If anything, Chael might even be more fired up knowing what he does now, more determined? I see this fight ending before 15 minutes is up.

  • Patrick says:

    Sonnen has a great chance at winning here.

  • goodguy says:

    I have liked Filho for quite some time now and I really understand that we are all human. Being a fighter doesn’t make you exempt from the same struggles as the rest of us. However, after the past year and this latest development, I have to say that I hope Sonnen either takes him out or beats on him for what will no-doubt still be an exciting fight. I hope that a loss will wake him up and set him straight. MMA needs ALL of the worlds elite fighters to act elite. Please, please, get your shit together Paulo.

  • Ross says:

    I cant imagine Filho not gettiing a contract offer…UFC will just lowball him. but he will be in the UFC.

  • Kung Foo says:

    I agree. I remember when Lutter failed to make weight by a few pounds against Silva, and Silva considered it to be a show of disrespect.

    So for the champion to fail too make weight regardless of by how much (7 being a lot). This was a complete lack of respect on Paulo’s part and will probably haunt him for years to come.

  • squeelin56 says:

    I too agree with everyones commit,if u r a fighter with a belt and u cannot make weight u should be stripped of your belt after the fight, i think it shows lack of respect for the organization and who u fight for!!

  • Mike Wolfe says:

    should have cost him more than 25%. 10% for every excess pound sounds about right. UFC and WEC could use that as a going rate for future fights.

  • Jeff L says:

    I wonder if WEC was not dissolving the division if they would have stripped him of his title. I think it would have been merited, easily.

  • Robert says:

    Are you people idiots or just forgetful? Saying you’re hoping Sonnen wins because Filho is being disrespectful by missing weight, don’t you remember the 1st fight Sonnen lost by an armbar then LIED after the fight and said he never tapped out. Sonnen is getting 25% of Filho’s pay which is the most I can remember an opponent getting in a while for a fighter missing weight. He and his trainer Matt Lindland are both a couple of cry babies. Who are both trying to act like the good guys when their both liars Sonnen was doing well the 1st fight and LOST, now he knows his chance of winning is gone because Filho won’t take him lightly again, so now he tries pissing him off more hoping his anger takes him out of the fight. Sonnen and Lindland are both a joke.

  • Jeff L says:

    Hey Robert, maybe if Filho was taking the fight seriously as you claim, he would have trained and come in on weight, like a champion. If anyone is a joke in this fight, it’s Paulo. Yeah, he’s got mental issues. Well boo-hoo, don’t a lot of people. If he can’t handle being a champion and making weight, then he should forfeit his title and get his personal shit straightened away until he can.

  • Robert says:

    Jeff L proves my case the average person is an idiot you’re going to defend a LIAR and take a cheap shot at someone with emotional problems also Filho seems to be handling his problems as well as can be expected he is 16 and 0.

  • Jeff L says:

    Yeah, you’re right Robert. Filho looked AWESOME. Way to shut me up.


You must be logged in to post a comment.