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Paulo Filho Out of Dream.12

In another setback for a talented but troubled MMA fighter, former World Extreme Cagefighting middleweight champion Paulo Filho is off Sunday's Dream 12 card.

Filho, who a couple of years ago was widely regarded as the No. 2 middleweight in the world, has been removed from the official Dream.12 fight card. Dream has not made any official announcement, but is reporting that Filho didn't show up in Japan for his scheduled fight with Dong Sik Yoon, and that Tarec Saffiedine will now fight Dong instead.

Filho took almost a year off from MMA in 2008 while he battled drug and personal problems, and when he finally returned to the cage he showed up overweight, out of shape and looking uninterested in fighting in a loss to Chael Sonnen -- the first loss of his MMA career.

In 2009 he has looked much better, beating Melvin Manhoef in a very exciting fight in July and then beating Alex Schoenauer in September. But now that he's pulled out of this fight, MMA fans have to wonder whether any promotion can ever trust him again.

UPDATE: Filho's camp says he couldn't make the trip from Brazil to Japan because of issues with getting a visa. Dream sent me the following statement:
"We have been unable to find Paulo Filho for the past week, including his own manager Ed Soares who was unable to get in touch with him, he tried the gym, friends, etc. We are hoping he is OK, not sure. As Ed is in LA for the Lyoto Machida fight, he was not in Brazil, so we have no idea what is going on at this point and only hope that Paulo Filho is OK.

Thanks to Tarec who is moving up in weight to take the fight on three days' notice."

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