Paulo Filho is a guy that at one point looked like he was going to be something super special in MMA. Filho went 16-0 between 2000 and 2007, which was considered quite a feat at the time in the Brazilian and Japanese MMA scenes. He racked up wins against Ikuhisa Minowa, Mach Sakurai, Ninja Rua, Akira Shoji, Yuki Kondo and more. If you are a TUF n00b (is that even a joke anymore, or are those veteran fans now?) those names might be a bit foreign to you, or might come across as kind of a joke, but at the time those were some of the elite of the elite.
His sixteenth win came against Chael Sonnen in the WEC, which garnered Paulo Filho the WEC Middleweight Championship. Everything after that was not just weird, but really weird, legendary weird even. Face tattoos, missing weight, talk about substance abuse and possible mental issues were all a part of the lore that was Paulo Filho. We were all kind of bummed about the whole thing because Filho was a beast for a time and it sucked seeing a guy with such potential being the butt of jokes and so troubled.
Filho was scheduled to fight recently and the bout was, unsurprisingly, called off due to what was announced as Filho having a seizure. It turns out it was just another misunderstanding because no, he didn’t suffer from a seizure, the dude had a panic attack, which can be a truly horrifying experience and not something that should be wished upon anyone. Filho opened up about his depression and anxiety issues and we are just gonna say that you should give it a read.
It sounds like Filho really wants to get things back on track for himself and that he understands how the world views him, which really is just another bummer of many. This is some heavy stuff to open up about, especially in a sport like MMA where it’s not cool to admit when things are wrong, so we salute Filho on this day of Ted Malakhov’s birth.