Paulo Filho (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)Head Games: The Disappointing Story of Brazilian Paulo Filho RJ Gardner February 14, 2014 Spotlight In 2006, Paulo Filho was one of the hottest rising stars in the world of MMA, and for good reason. The young fighter was an accomplished grappler and owned an unblemished record with wins over the likes of Murilo “Ninja” Rua and Ryo Chonan. Fast forward to 2014 and Filho has become the saddest joke in MMA. Between lackluster performances, various no-shows and mental stability issues, Filho’s career has turned tragic. With an abysmal 9-6-3 record since 2007, Filho has failed to reach the levels MMA pundits once thought certain. Even with all of his issues and baggage, Filho’s talents were held in high enough regard to garner a contract with Ray Sefo’s World Series of Fighting. Filho made his debut at the young promotion’s second show, losing to former UFC competitor David Branch via unanimous decision. Since then Filho has competed twice in his native Brazil. He fought to a draw against Rodney Wallace and a loss to Andre Muniz in those outings. Although it is not unheard of for a fighter under contract with an organization to fight for other promotions, Filho did so both times without authorization from the WSOF. For that reason, Filho will likely never fight for another U.S.-based organization again. Instead, he will be relegated to the international fight scene. Looking back, Filho should be seen as the ultimate example of “what not to do” for young fighters. He had all the talent in the world, but lacked the drive and mental toughness to unlock the seemingly endless potential he once possessed. Many people would argue that B.J. Penn could be viewed as MMA’s biggest disappointment given his unbelievable skill set and relative unimpressive overall record. But when you dig into it, Penn is only one of two fighters in UFC history to win titles in two different weight classes, and he consistently fought the best competition. Filho cannot make the same argument. Although he does have some nice wins on his resume, Filho never reached the pinnacle of the sport and never really competed against the best fighters in the world. When fans hear Penn’s name, they associate it with a legacy of UFC championships. Filho’s name, on the other hand, is mostly associated with a bizarre pair of fights against Chael Sonnen under the WEC banner. The good news for Filho is his fighting career is not over. But while he still has the name value to draw in fight fans, especially in his native Brazil, he has worn out his welcome with the real players in the fight game. Good-bye and good riddance, Paulo Filho, your epic failure will long be remembered.