We weren’t the only ones who thought Paulo Filho sucked last night. The blogamasphere has spoken and the verdict is unanimous: major suckage.
It was quite a mixture of emotions watching what felt like the end of the road for Paulo Filho. Here’s a pro-wrestling reference for you – it was like watching Shawn Michaels ‘losing his smile’, like we watched a fighter who had no interest in engaging in anything other than on the ground with Chael Sonnen. Sonnen played the fight smartly and did what he needed to do to win. I don’t blame him one bit for his strategy. It was fun to watch the crowd turn on Paulo Filho so fast.
Dana White and Co. may want to look into Filho’s personal issues. He was in rehab earlier this year for depression and substance abuse problems. No one misses weight in MMA by that much without a bigger issue they’re dealing with.
Filho (16-1) never appeared to be into the fight mentally. In final 90 seconds, Filho looked dazed repeatedly looking off to various sides of the cage. It prompted WEC color voice Frank Mir to flip out: “What is he looking at? I feel like I’m watching the movie with Woody Harrelson (where) he’s like talking to jesus or something.”
Filho, 30, simply did not seem as if he wanted to be in the cage. Fighting for the first time since going through rehab, he was a far cry from the athlete recognized by many as one of the world’s best middleweights.
For Filho, who has battled demons with depression and substance abuse in recent times, the fight was a blow to his reputation as one of the middleweight division’s elite fighters. Once thought of as the sole heir-apparent to UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva’s crown, Filho’s behavior before and during the fight — as well as his disinterested appearance after — left numerous questions as to his immediate future.
Filho looked to be experiencing psychosis and one wonders how he passed an evaluation by the athletic commission, but he was coherent enough and the rematch between he and Sonnen was all but required.
Filho was mad, because in order to get Sonnen to agree to fight him, he had to forfeit 25 percent of his purse to Sonnen. He had vowed to take that 25 percent out on Sonnen, but seemed to fight most of the fight almost in a stupor. By the third round, he was involved in a conversation in Portuguese while fighting, but it didn’t appear that he was actually talking with anyone.
The performance by Filho was so bad, that even though he came into the fight ranked near the top in most middleweight rankings, one has to question whether UFC would even sign him for the division as WEC shuts it down.
Last night’s abomination of a performance from Filho will no doubt cause him to drop like a rock in the leading rankings polls out there. Pundits such as myself must own up to our mistake and acknowledge that even when at his best, Filho was never as good as we made him out to be. Perhaps it was the smoke and mirrors PRIDE rolled out for many of the fighters they were trying to build as stars? While in Japan, Filho looked like a buzzsaw. In the States, he looks like a dude who is only fighting because he’s got some debts to pay.