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Has Paulo Filho burned his last bridge?

It never ends with Paulo Filho does it?

Filho not only managed to once again dropped out of another fight, this time for the Bitetti Combat 6 promotion against Japanese fighter Yuki Sasaki, but somehow managed to twice drop out of the bout. On February 22, Filho dropped out citing personal problems and then announced that he would compete and was then taking off the card after no-showing at the weigh-in for the event. Filho told that he pulled out due to financial reasons, and he would not fight anymore for the promotion.

Another bridge burned.

Filho’s substance issues led to one of the sport’s most bizarre and cringe-worthy fights back in November 2008 against Chael Sonnen during WEC 36, a fight originally scheduled to happen during the summer. The pair met after Filho controversially missed weight by four pounds; nullifying Sonnen’s last chance to win the WEC’s middleweight title.

When the fight began, it was an eternal fifteen minutes of hell as Filho looked confused and disoriented for much of the bout’s duration. Filho’s performance was bashed by many of the MMA media, as many wondered how Filho was cleared to fight in that sort of mental capacity.

After announcing that he would once again enter rehab, Filho – who had once been considered to be the second best middleweight fighterin the world – was dropped by Zuffa to little reaction. After exiting rehab, Filho seemed like a new fighter after leaving rehab, even defeating fearful strike Melvin Manhoef at Dream 10 in a short yet exciting fight. Filho even went on to issue a challenge to Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi. With the announcement of an alliance between Dream, M—1 Global and Strikeforce it seemed like Filho was poised to prove many in the MMA world that doubted him wrong.

Then it happened…again.

When Filho did not report to Japan for his scheduled fight with Yoon Dong Sik, Filho was dropped from the fight and was replaced by Tarec Saffiedine and has yet to be booked by the promotion for a future event. Filho and his manager Ed Soares stated the reason he did not show up was due to Visa issues and that they had tried to contact Dream about this issue, and Dream countered by saying that they could not contact Filho. Two months later, Filho revealed the real reason as to why he dropped out: He was suffering from depression brought on by a sleeping pill addiction.

While Filho has only suffered one loss, the baggage that comes with his talent guarantees him that he would never be a main event fighter for any promotion in the near future. While Filho has stated the he has interest in fighting for Strikeforce, the promotion has yet to show interest in signing him. My guess is that dropping out of Dream 12 might have killed any chances of him getting signed by Strikeforce.

Ed Soares has recently stated that Filho is once again battling his personal demons and that the move to Brazil has done more bad than good.

Many have already made the comparisons that Filho is this era’s Mark Kerr, a highly talented yet flawed fighter whose demons will derail a bright career. For those who are new to MMA, go find “The Smashing Machine” and watch it. Both fighters had exceptional talent and many fans praised both fighters calling them the best in their respective division, to only have a glorious rise and fall. Kerr never reached the same level after an extensive battle with drug abuse.

Filho has attempted to crawl out of despair, but the latest setback in a once glistening career doesn’t help him.

  • Lethal Liquid says:

    Whether he has burned the bridge or not he’s not ready to fight. So he shouldn’t get a look from anyone until he is mentally and emotionally stable enough to fight. Don’t know what his family situation is because I recall his father passing and that began this spiral. Just hope he can turn his life around.

  • Rece Rock says:

    Tough to get the proper help when your job doesn’t have med benefits and your broke… Hope he can get back up to par – I think he needs to think about a new livelyhood in the mean time

  • Ken says:

    Man this guy needs some serious help with his issues.

  • KTru says:

    first and foremost let us hope he can get better for his health alone.

    Along with the before mentioned issues I have read he has been fighting with a heroin addiction as well. If so is the case, he will undoubtly have his biggest battle of his life without putting on gloves.
    Good luck to him and hopefully we will again see what a talent he is.

  • Dufresne says:

    I hope for his own health and for his family he gets everything under control.
    It’s always a shame to see such a talent having troubles like this outside the ring.

    I don’t know if he’ll ever get back with a large promotion if he does pull out of this though. He’s 31 and you have to think it would take a few years of proving he’s still got it and staying clean before a major promotion seriously considers signing him.

    I think with his level of talent and the knowledge he has of the game he could be a serious coach for the next generation of fighters. Not just in the ring either, if he manages to kick these demons he’ll make a hell of a coach outside the cage too.

  • Guthookd says:

    That is so unfair to his opponents it’s hard to feel for the guy. I do hope he gets it together, but as far as looking forward to another fight……..I will not.

  • fetussandwich says:

    The saddest thing in the world is wasted talent.

  • fetussandwich says:

    Second saddest is edub thinking the thumbs down button is a noble enough reason to justify getting out of bed in the morning.

  • mu_shin says:

    Talent like Filho’s is a rarity. Unfortunately, whatever personal problems he’s dealing with, it seems he does not have loving family or caring management in place to help him maintain a consistent professional career and reputation. Until Paulo can put his demons to rest and concentrate on fighting, it’s hard to see any promotion taking a risk on working with him. Still, if you want to see a killer on the ground, watch some of his past fights, like the Dream match with Manhoef…

  • fanoftna33 says:

    This is a great comment, plus the avatar is probably the best one I have seen yet.
    fetussandwich: Second saddest is edub thinking the thumbs down button is a noble enough reason to justify getting out of bed in the morning.  (Quote)

  • fanoftna33 says:

    Now the smashing Machine was a great documentary with a very real behind the scenes look at what MMA was like back in the old days. A lot of these guys nowdays couldnt hang at all with thoes guys. That said its scary to see how easily one guy went so far using all the drugs he could get into his system back then, makes me wonder about the sport even now.

  • kimbosbeard says:

    He had every oppurtunity in the world to become a great fighter, but hes done everything he can to screw it up. Feel bad for guys who can progress in their careers because of real injuries and bad luck like benji radach, not for a guy who cant keep pills out of his mouth

  • Angry Mike says:

    The needle and the damage done.

  • LiverPunch says:

    Very disapointing. Such a talent and yet such baggage. I would love to see a clean, ready Filho fighting again for SF or the UFC. I really think this guy would give any MW a run for their money.
    So Filho get new managment drop back down to MW and get your shit sorted…or I’ll…post a nasty comment on 5 oz.

  • edub says:

    I’ve never heard the Ker comparison before. Its pretty accurate. Especially because both had such awesome strength on the ground probably because of steroid use.


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