When discussing anxiety and depression in the MMA realm, one need not look further than Brazil’s Paulo Filho, a middleweight that has been battling depression since the days of WEC.
After Chael Sonnen served Paulo Filho his only loss in MMA prior to 2009, Paulo fell down a spiraling rabbit hole of depression. Filho came back to the MMA world rocking a million dollar bill on his stomach with a pitbull in the middle. When asked what it meant, he said the the pitbull represented himself. If you’re thinking ‘Why didn’t Filho just get a picture of himself on the bill?’ then you should shove that logical question right in the trash. Yeah it’s going to be on his torso for the rest of his life, but the dude is Brazilian, let it slide. To accompany that tattoo (and his existing Mike Tyson mugshot), he etched the words ‘Reward Hunter’ on his chest. It sounds like an achievement you would get on your Xbox 360.
After Filho no-showed at Dream 12 due to ‘passport’ problems, Paulo Filho said that he finally found the cure for his depression. In an interview with Tatame, Paulo Filho spilled the beans for every psychologist to take note:
“I confess that has been a while that I don’t go to the Master João Alberto Barreto’s office, but I’m doing healing things as fishing and talking to friends. Master Reyson (Gracie) is going to my house too and we’re talking a lot. I’m reading religion books, self helping, so my mind is fine now, but sometimes I get down and the depression comes. I went this far because I always wanted to be Paulão and I needed sometime for myself“
The power of the cut-off flannel was strong. Everyone believed Paulo Filho’s excuse until it was later revealed that Paulo Filho had no passport problems. The dude was just depressed (again) and he couldn’t even board his flight to Tokyo. After the incident, Paulo Filho was scheduled to bang against Yuki Sasaki at Bitetti Combat 6 on February 25th 2010, but Sherdog is now reported that Filho dropped out of his bout due to ‘personal problems,’ which we later found out was another incident of Filho’s perpetual bout with depression.
The truth is, anxiety and depression is damn near impossible to cure. One can only hope to have support and guidance, which is probably why Jens Pulver is in the midst of starting an entire movement to help those afflicted. Check out Jens Pulver discussing ‘Nvr Fly Solo’ in this video we took in Singapore on his way to the ONE FC: Rise of Kings weigh-in.