First Paulo Filho pulled out of his rematch with Chael Sonnen, citing depression. Then the WEC middleweight champion changed his mind and got back in. Now he’s out again, and this time it may stick. Filho has reportedly checked himself into rehab for a non-specific chemical dependency problem. Hmmm. Depression. Huge muscles. Trouble making weight. Mercurial behavior. I wonder what he’s on…
Honestly, it’s hard not to feel for Paulo Filho right now. Ever since I saw the video clip of him getting seriously concerned for Ricardo Arona and his stab wounds, I’ve had a soft spot for the guy. We saw glimpses of his almost uncomfortable sincerity when he initially pulled out of this rematch, basically saying that he was too sad to train. Now that he’s entering rehab I feel equal parts disappointed and relieved.
Filho seems like he needs help, and we all hope he gets it. His manager, Jorge Guimaraes, had this to say to Sherdog about the situation:
“We tried our best with Filho, but it didn’t work and he’ll not fight in the WEC. He tried with all his effort to accomplish the title defense, but he realized he couldn’t do it due to chemical dependence and depression. He knew this kind of stuff does not have a link with the sport, and I’m happy he had a conscience and looked for help…The WEC staff was superb with us. They understood the situation, and Filho will return and defend his belt in June.”
Now, I’m no addiction specialist, but June seems like a quick comeback. That gives him three months to get clean and get into fighting shape. If I were Filho’s friend, I might advise him to deal with one issue at a time. First kick this drug problem and get your mind right. Then get back in the gym and think about fighting again. The stress of preparing for a title fight doesn’t seem entirely conducive to focusing on sobriety.
Let’s hope Filho has friends who can give him this kind of advice, rather than managers who might have other priorities. For now, let’s all enjoy this Zapruder film of Filho taking on recent IFL addition Alexandre “Cacareco” Ferreira in a no-gi grappling match in Brazil. Watch for the totally sweet suplex from “Cacareco” just after the two-minute mark. As this video makes clear, Brazilians love them some grappling. Sounds like a soccer match in there. Enjoy.