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Paulo Filho agrees to relinquish WEC middleweight title

It appears that Chael Sonnen will be able to fulfill the wish of his ill father by presenting him with the WEC middleweight title after all.

Sonnen had been scheduled to fight Paulo Filho at WEC 36 this past Wednesday in a five-round bout in which Filho’s middleweight title would be at stake. However, Filho failed to meet his contracted weight requirement of 185 pounds and the match was switched to a three-round non-title affair.

Soon after Tuesday’s weigh-ins, a report surfaced on MMA Weekly that quoted Matt Lindland, Sonnen’s trainer, as saying that Filho’s camp had agreed to hand the title over to Sonnen in the event that he was able to win the fight. Despite Sonnen’s unanimous decision victory, Filho retained possession of the title.

However, according to an SI.com report by Josh Gross, Filho’s manager, Ed Soares, has confirmed that Sonnen will be presented the belt.

“Flying back to Los Angeles from Florida the day after what was supposed to be a five-round championship fight, Filho’s manager, Ed Soares, said he planned on shipping the belt to Sonnen as soon as he could,” writes Gross.

While Sonnen will take possession of the title, he will not be officially recognized as a WEC middleweight title holder. He will also not receive an opportunity to win the title outright, as the WEC is shutting down its middleweight division following its WEC 37 event on Dec. 3.

Filho’s defeat, the first of his 17 fight career, capped off a strange and turbulent week for the talented Brazilian grappler. After having his rematch vs. Sonnen postponed three times — once due to weather but twice due to issues stemming from an inpatient stay to treat depression and chemical dependency problems — Filho weighed in at 192 pounds on Tuesday during his initial attempt. He was given two additional hours to meet the required limit of 185 pounds, but still fell short, weighing in during his second and final attempt at 189 pounds.

During the fight, Filho refused to engage Sonnen in the standup and at times during the fight looked disinterested and even despondent. According to Gross’ report, Filho was apparently unaware the fight had even ended after being informed in the locker room that he had lost. It appears that there was even enough concern in regard to Filho that he was examined at a local hospital following the event.

“Soon, Filho drew attention from doctors when the dilation of his pupils didn’t match,” Gross reported. “Later that evening, however, the 30-year-old grappler was released from a local hospital, his eyes functioning as close to normal as they’d done all night.”

The former PRIDE star’s fighting future is now uncertain. A report by the Brazilian website Tatame indicates that Filho will move his training camp from Brazil to Los Angeles with one of his coach’s, Josuel Distak, quoted as saying that Filho will be moving to light heavyweight.

With the WEC disbanding its middleweight and light heavyweight divisions, Filho will have to move over to the UFC in order to remain employed with Zuffa. However, after Wednesday’s bizarre performance, Gross indicates that a chance to compete in the Octagon is less than certain at this point. Long-time MMA reporter Dave Meltzer also wrote in his Thursday update on the Figure Four website to “not expect to see Paulo Filho fighting in UFC or WEC for a long, long time.”

13 COMMENTS
  • Greg Urban says:

    He will keep it…He’s a odd cat. He was not even looking at Sonnen towards the end of the fight. If Sonnen really wanted to he could have KTFO’d Fihlo, but he stood away and got the win..I cant blame him..

  • Ian says:

    Sonnen might get the belt, but it’s going to be to his detriment.

    Think of the perfect storm brewing. With the lack of challengers at 185, the UFC will set up an immediate match with Anderson Silva.

    Anderson coming off a shaky performance, his desire to make up for that, his ties with Paulo, and Sonnen standing in front of him.

    I hope Chael has a good health plan. That is going to be ugly.

  • KTru says:

    There is no intrigue to have that fight anytime soon. With the countdown of fights that Silva has remaining, it will probably never come to fruition. “Spider” has bigger fish to fry. They all reside in the 205 division.

  • Patrick says:

    Good, I’m glad Filho manned up and gave his belt to Sonnen. Champions who don’t make weight should immediately be stripped of their belts anyhow.

  • Robert says:

    Patrick what about Sonnen does a liar who denies he submitted in a fight when he clearly did deserve any respect no. I am glad the belt is a joke anyway the division is dead, and what’s really disgusting is how people are so quick to judge someone who is going through deep emotional problems people like this are unstable and even suicidal, it’s nothing to dismiss as a minor problem I think the least of Filho’s concerns are making weight and what some jackass MMA fans think of his missing weight.

  • chris says:

    robert your am idiot he never tapped I’ve watched it over and over and if filho has that many problems he should not have agreed to the fight your just a upset nuthugger its cool though believe in your own excuses

  • John says:

    I volunteer at a rehab center for different tyoes of addicitons, and after watching the end of the fight a number of times and paying close attention to Filho and his demeanor, I am convinced that he was DEFINETLY on some sort of drug. While he seemed to be somewhat aware of what was going on during most of the fight, by the end of the fight he became dehydrated and whatever drug he took started to take an even greater hold on his mind.

  • TerribleT says:

    I really don’t think the UFC will want him unless he gets whatever his problems are straightened out and then he might have to fight somewhere else and win a fight or 2 and prove he is still worthy of a UFC contract B4 they think about bringing him on board. He definitely hurt his fighting appeal in the last 9 months,that’s for sure.

  • Robert says:

    Chris you’re an idiot the referee said on more than one occasion that Sonnen verbally submitted how the hell are you gonna see that dumbass! I’ll tell you watch it about a 107 more times maybe you’ll see something you dumb shit.

  • Robert says:

    Oh and Chris as far as saying if Filho has that many problems he should’nt have agreed to the fight when you’re that emotionally out of it and not in your right mind you don’t know you need help or that somethings wrong with you so you don’t say to yourself I can’t take this fight I need help it does’nt work that way. Just how dumb are YOU anyway to make a stupid comment like that.

  • KTru says:

    Bottom line, Filho lost and it does not matter what his stability was. He gave up the belt and now its time to move on. Hopefully whatever issues Filho has can be taken care of and he get can back on the right track to fighting again.

  • deadman says:

    Ok, first off i have a ton of respect for filho’s heart and fighting ability, but my issue here is with the WEC itself. To me it was apperent from the time Filho walked into the ring that there was obviously something not right with him. and how they even let the fight happen in the first place i cant begin to understand. Im glad that Filho wasnt in there with a guy that was more aggressive cause he may have been seriously hurt. I belive that there needs to be a investigation into the practices of the WEC when it comes to fighter safety because there seem to me that there was a strong lack of it in this case.

  • OCD says:

    Filho is an addict, sorry, but he’s never going to be a great fighter until he gets his addictions controlled. Or, he is mentally damaged from fighting. Either way, he’s off.

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