At the time of lighter weight pioneer Alexandre “Pequeno” Nogueira’s signing with Zuffa-owned World Extreme Cagefighting, the acquisition flew under the radar of the typical mainstream MMA fan.
However, Nogueira’s arrival in the WEC is one that was heralded by hardcore fans as well as fighters. In fact, former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver felt compelled during an interview conducted over the summer to publicly campaign for a match against the 10-year veteran.
However, the Luta Livre-style fighter’s career in the WEC is over after just one bout. During a recent interview with the Brazilian MMA website Tatame, Nogueira revealed that he has been released by the promotion and is currently a free agent.
Nogueira made his WEC debut on June 1 in Sacramento against top featherweight prospect Jose Aldo. Despite being considered by many pundits to be the favorite, the Brazilian fell to 13-5-2 after being TKO’d by Aldo at 3:22 of round 2.
Even though he lost, Nogueira’s biggest setback didn’t take place until after the fight. Soon after the bout, the California State Athletic Commission announced that it was fining Nogueira $2,500 and supending him for a year after it claimed he tested positive for performance enhancing drugs.
Despite not being eligible to compete in the U.S. until May 31 of 2009 at the earliest, Nogueira doesn’t appear interested in serving out his full suspension. During the Tatame interview, the 30-year old indicated that he’s looking to resume his fighting career much sooner and that he and his manager, Alex Davis, are negotiating for a future fight in Japan’s Sengoku promotion.
If Nogueira competes before being reinstated by the commission, CSAC could elect to revoke Nogueira’s license, meaning he would be unable to compete in the state of California well after his one-year suspension had expired.