Paulo Filho submits Chael Sonnen with an armbar at WEC 31: Faber vs Curran. Photo property of World Extreme Cagefighting.
After rumors circulated regarding personal issues probably involving a bout with depression, WEC middleweight champion Paulo Filho has indeed opted to withdraw from his scheduled title defense rematch against Chael Sonnen later this month.
World Extreme Cagefighting officially announced his decision late tonight via their official website, also revealing that Filho has checked himself into a local rehabilitation center in order to receive help for an alleged substance abuse problem.
“This is horrible news, but we’re proud of him for stepping up and recognizing his problem,” said Filho’s manager, Ed Soares in a press release sent out to the media. “At times like this you realize who your true friends are and who really supports you, and the people around him now are supporting him and are gonna be with him when he comes back.”
Various reports had Filho wanting to move the fight to the summer, likely as part of a co-main event involving a much-anticipated fight between featherweight title holder Urijah Faber and the ever-popular Jens Pulver in June.
The former PRIDE standout also publicly stated that he felt he was pressured into fighting Sonnen this month by WEC officials.
A light heavyweight title bout between Doug Marshall and Brian Stann will serve as the show’s main event. The postponement serves as a huge blow to an event that lacks any real star power with the exception of the lone title fight and a welterweight showdown between John Alessio and Brock Larson.
The announcement of an additional fight to fill out the card is expected some time next week.
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