It’s fair to say that Australia’s Impact FC promotion believes in second chances. Between the two events that they are holding this month they have assembled something of a rogues gallery of talented but troubled fighters.
For instance the two events have been headlined by Josh Barnett and Ken Shamrock, two men who have been serving a suspension after testing positive for steroids.
There’s also Paul Daley who was recently thrown out of the UFC for sucker punching Josh Koscheck after the bell, and Karo Parisyan who was also given his marching orders from the sports leading promotion after failing to overcome his addiction to painkillers and anxiety issues.
Last but certainly not least there’s former WEC middleweight champion Paulo Filho who, on paper at least, features in one of the most interesting fights of the night against Canada’s Denis Kang.
Filho’s erratic behavior in recent years has become part of MMA folklore. In 2008 he was checked into rehab for substance abuse problems. Later that year he failed to make weight for a WEC title fight with Chael Sonnen. The fight still took place and he put on a bizarre performance in which he appeared lethargic and disorientated, talking to himself and Sonnen, and at time almost appearing to momentarily forget where he was.
Since that time his problems have continued to manifest themselves, from missing events to admitting that he was broke and getting a facial tattoo. In February of this year his manager Ed Soares admitted he the fighter still fighting his demons.
So has he turned things around in the few months since then? Reports of his behavior in Sydney ahead of his fight suggest perhaps not.
For example here’s what Filho was up to at the pre-fight press conference.
“Twice Filho responds to questions after Kang, simply mumbling, “I agree.” When asked by fighter-stroke-commentator Elvis Sinosic what he did to train specifically for Kang, Filho offers, “I trained for him, specifically.”
“I just watched Paulo Filho scoop ice out of some random bucket with his hand to put ice in his diet coke. That’s totally normal, right?”
Then came the day of the weigh-ins. Breen started off the day by sharing an anecdote on his weekly live chat about Filho’s goings-on during the week.
“The craziest thing I’ve seen Filho get up to was when he started asking some woman on the street about the pitbull she had with her in broken English, and tried to basically hustle pitbull puppies off of her, then got angry she didn’t know whether he could bring them back to Brazil.”
Next Breen was off to cover the weigh-ins where, surprise, surprise, Filho quickly became the main talking point.
“Kang weighs in at 185. They have no idea where Filho is. Shocking. They’re letting Kang weigh in now, and moving on, will get Filho after.”
Filho finally showed up roughly an hour after the weigh-in began.
“Filho is in at 187. He has to cut 400 grams. He doesn’t look happy at all.”
“Wow. This just got f*cking weird. Filho looks like he’s going to cry, and asking Tom Huggins if Kang will give him the extra extra pound.”
Roughly an hour later Filho reappeared.
“Paulo just got completely naked and jumped on the scale. Like, he didn’t even use the towel. Just completely stark naked. That was something.”
Personally I thought it would be hard to top Karo Parisyan’s antics at last week’s event, but Filho is certainly giving him a run for his money. Thankfully he did finally make weight and was greenlit for tonight’s event.
Will he turn up for the show though, and if he does, What kind of condition both mentally and physically is he going to be in? We’ll find out for sure when Impact FC 2 gets underway later this evening.