Josh Gross talks to Paulo's people:
True to his word, Paulo Filho has agreed to vacate the WEC middleweight belt after losing unanimously on points to Chael Sonnen on Wednesday. Flying back to Los Angeles from Florida the day after what was supposed to be a five-round championship fight, Filho's manager, Ed Soares, said he planned on shipping the belt to Sonnen as soon as he could.
Having returned to his locker room after refusing to engage for 15 minutes, Filho (16-1), told several times he'd lost, reacted as if he was unaware the fight had even reached its conclusion, Soares said.
Soon, Filho drew attention from doctors when the dilation of his pupils didn't match. Later that evening, however, the 30-year-old grappler was released from a local hospital, his eyes functioning as close to normal as they'd done all night.
And GonzoDamon in the Fightlinker forums has some commentary on the kind of issues Paulo's been dealing with:
I’m trying to find the article where it specifically mentioned that Filho went through a pretty hardcore withdrawal from painkillers at rehab clinic in Brazil. I assume that his money paid for a good clinic, but you never know.
Regardless, recovering from years of opiate abuse is VERY TOUGH. The generally accepted knowledge is that is takes your nervous system/body/mental equilibrium as long to recover from opiate abuse as you have used. With this in mind, I don’t that we will see the buzzsaw Paulo for quite some time.
This was a man who’s pride, love of fighting, and dedication to his team/organization/self led him to step into the cage WAY BEFORE he should have. I saw a man on Wednesday night in that cage that is still in the beginning stages of recovery. It only factors in slightly that Paulo is physically fit. Withdrawal and recovery is mostly mental. No amount of training is going to be able to trick your body and mind that you aren’t adjusting to producing your own dopamine again, which is at a greatly reduced rate than usual.
The imbalance of dopamine in the body can have some seriously overwhelming effects. Also, who knows what he is being prescribed to help recover? There are tons of different medicines prescribed during opiate withdrawal and recovery - most very serious medication.
Having spent a lot of time around recovering addicts and studied the whole system myself, I can do nothing but hope the best for Paulo. It is unfortunate that he is receiving all of this negativity from people that couldn’t even begin to understand his struggle. The fact that he managed to convince himself to take this fight at all is remarkable. It was an embarrassing performance indeed, but it pales in comparison to what he is already going through personally.
I wish you the best Paulo. May your recovery be swift. May you find your happiness again in a world without opiates. I hope that you make it through these rough times and remember the dominant fighter that you can be again.
I have to echo those sentiments. Pain killer addiction is no laughing matter. I feel bad for both Filho and Sonnen in this debacle. Its too bad the fight wasn't cancelled sooner. I hope Paulo has some good friends around him right now.