Of all the bizarre turns in the troubled career of Paulo Filho, his purported exit from MMA might be the strangest twist yet.
Once an undefeated message board darling considered one of the best 185-pounders on the planet, Filho’s three-year tailspin into obscurity has finally come to this: The fighter told Tatame.com this week that he may well retire after a scheduled bout with Mamed Khalidov in November. Meanwhile, Filho’s estranged manager contends that he is still dangerously addicted to drugs -- including Rohypnol, of all things -- and has squandered his earnings at the pharmacy as well as on pit bulls and roosters.
“I don't want this anymore,” Filho said, making it sound like he would only go through with his fight against Khalidov at a KSW event in Poland because the contracts were already signed.
Though he said he’s now over his substance abuse issues, Fliho goes on to claim that he’s received death threats in his native Brazil over longstanding drug debts and that he was never paid by manager Rodrigo Riscada after three recent fights. Riscada, naturally, denies this.
“I’m kind of disappointed with this stuff, fighting and not getting paid,” Filho said. “I don’t want people comforting me; I just want what is mine.”
The former WEC middleweight champion’s career spiraled out of control after his inexplicable performance during his first career loss, to Chael Sonnen in 2008. So far, the 33-year-old has fought four times in 2011, amassing a record of 1-2-1.
If Filho really does call it quits next month, the legacy he leaves in MMA will be one typified by unfulfilled potential.