In a report that comes as no surprise, the Nov. 17 print edition of the Wrestling Observer gives strong indications that WEC middleweight champion Paulo Filho has been released from his contract by Zuffa officials.
“Not only will Paulo Filho’s middleweight championship be forgotten, but Filho himself will be after his performance on the show, as it’s all but a lock that Filho won’t be moved to UFC,” one excerpt states.
However, later in the issue, while addressing Fabricio Werdum’s UFC departure, an even more definitive statement is made.
“There is zero criticism I’ve seen of (Zuffa) cutting Paulo Filho, who was 16-0 coming into his fight (vs. Chael Sonnen) but his cut wasn’t over money but that the person who was in that cage has no business fighting at this time,” writes Observer publisher Dave Meltzer.
Filho received $30,000 for his unanimous decision loss to Sonnen at WEC 36 earlier this month. He had been scheduled to earn $41,000 as his “show” guarantee but was forced to forfeit a portion of his purse to Sonnen after failing to make the contracted weight limit of 185 pounds. It is believed that had Filho made weight and won that he could have earned an additional $41,000 in the form of a win bonus.
Filho’s middleweight title had been scheduled to be at stake but the fight was changed to a non-title affair after the native Brazilian weighed in at 192.5 pounds during his initial weigh-in attempt. The former PRIDE Bushido standout was given two additional hours to make weight but he registered at 189.5 pounds during his second and final attempt.
Zuffa will be officially closing the WEC’s middleweight and light heavyweight divisions following its WEC 37 event on Dec. 3. Top names such as Sonnen, Steve Cantwell, Brian Stann, Mark Munoz, and Jake Rosholt have been confirmed as being transferred to the UFC. Filho was considered to be a strong candidate for the move as well but his erratic behavior, failure to make weight, and pay scale likely contributed in a decision to drop cut his contract.
Additionally, Filho also been adamant that he would not face current UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva due to their friendship and had expressed a desire to compete as a light heavyweight. Taking away the UFC’s ability to match Filho up with its champion at 185 coupled with a stated desire to compete in the UFC’s stacked light heavyweight division despite being listed as only 5’8″ no doubt further hurt his stock in the eyes of Zuffa.
A request for comment by Five Ounces of Pain from Filho’s manager, Ed Soares, was not immediately returned.