Filho to Give Sonnen His WEC Belt, Move Up to 205
Reports: Paulo Filho to give belt to Sonnen, move to 205 pounds
by MMAjunkie.com Staff on Nov 08, 2008 at 4:40 pm ET
WEC middleweight champion Paulo Filho may end up without his belt after all.
Despite holding on to his title after his Wednesday night clash with Chael Sonnen was declared a non-title affair when Filho was unable to make weight, a report by Josh Gross of SI.com indicates that the champion will make good on his pre-fight promise and send the belt to the man that handily defeated him.
A report from MMAWeekly.com surfaced before the bout that Filho's camp had promised to "walk across the cage and hand Chael the belt if he wins."
While that promise was not fulfilled after the bizarre bout at "WEC 36: Faber vs. Brown," Filho's manager Ed Soares assured Gross that the champion and his camp would make good on the commitment.
"Flying back to Los Angeles from Florida the day after what was supposed to be a five-round championship fight, Filho's manager, Ed Soares, said he planned on shipping the belt to Sonnen as soon as he could," Gross reported.
Further reports from the Brazilian website TATAME.com have Filho relocating to Los Angeles in an effort to change his training and utilize the "new spirit" he gained from the bout with Sonnen.
TATAME.com quotes Filho's coach Josuel Distak as stating that Filho will be interested in moving to 205 pounds -- after a rematch with Sonnen.
Attempts to reach Sonnen for comment by MMAjunkie.com were unsuccessful, but it is difficult to imagine that the Team Quest fighter would have any interest in the bout.
After a controversial loss to Filho in December 2007, the two were set to meet again in March. Filho withdrew from the bout in order to address his battle with substance abuse and depression. Wednesday night's matchup was also in jeopardy when Filho weighed in at 192 pounds -- seven pounds over the contracted weight of 185 pounds. An additional two hours was given to Filho to make weight, but the Brazilian could only shed three more pounds, leaving him at four pounds over the middleweight limit.
Sonnen's camp agreed to garner 25 percent of Filho's wages and compete in a three-round non-title bout.
The WEC middleweight belt was scheduled to be retired after the bout anyway, as the 185 pound division had been identified for a merger with the far-deeper weight class of the UFC. Filho's lack of engagement throughout the 15 minute snooze-fest -- coupled with his subsequent erratic behavior and initial inability to come even remotely close to making his contracted weight limit -- have left his contract situation with the organization open to public debate. Filho's camp has declined to comment on the situation at this time.
Re: Filho to Give Sonnen His WEC Belt, Move Up to 205
I just read the SI article referenced in the MMAjunkie article above and found some more interesting info regarding Filho's behavior that night:
Having returned to his locker room after refusing to engage for 15 minutes, Filho (16-1), told several times he'd lost, reacted as if he was unaware the fight had even reached its conclusion, Soares said.
Soon, Filho drew attention from doctors when the dilation of his pupils didn't match. Later that evening, however, the 30-year-old grappler was released from a local hospital, his eyes functioning as close to normal as they'd done all night.
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