World Series of Fighting 9 welterweight Rousimar Palhares (15-5) is scheduled to fight the promotion’s 170-pound champ, but he won’t be licensed until he passes a drug test.
In the meantime, the WSOF has a “backup plan” to ensure champ Steve Carl (21-3) fights on the March 29 event – regardless of Palhares’ test results.
After Palhares initially was unable to complete a random test requested by the Nevada State Athletic Commission in his native Brazil, the promotion flew him to Las Vegas. He was tested on Monday for steroids and diuretics, NSAC chairman Francisco Aguilar today told MMAjunkie, and the results won’t be available for seven to 10 days.
During a media teleconference today in support of the event, WSOF matchmaker Ali Abdelaziz said he was “almost 100 percent sure” Palhares would test clean for his fight and added he would receive the test results the day before the event. He declined to elaborate on the promotion’s backup plan, but near the end of the call, welterweight Tyler Stinson told reporters he is on deck.
“You reporters need to do your homework,” he said. “I’m the backup plan.”
WSOF 9 takes place at Las Vegas’ Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Its main card airs live on NBC Sports Network following prelims on MMAjunkie.
Abdelaziz said the Nevada commission’s test request came three weeks prior to WSOF 9 and characterized it as “kind of late, with no recommendation where to go in Brazil.”
“Rousimar could not find a place in Brazil, so we decided to bring him here and get the test, and we’ll get the result only a day before the fight,” he said. “We wish we had more notice, but I’m not worried about Rousimar not being clean.
“He was clean for his last fight. I’m very sure he is a clean fighter, but if anything happens, I have a backup for Steve Carl. Steve Carl will fight regardless.”
Palhares is the second fighter this year to be randomly tested by the commission. This past month, UFC contender Vitor Belfort received one while attending the 2013 World MMA Awards, but the results of the test remain confidential because the commission did not obtain a release to make them public. The commission’s confirmation of Palhares’ test indicates the release was obtained this time around.
Palhares tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone following a first-round knockout loss to Hector Lombard in December 2012 at UFC on FX 6. He was released from the promotion this past fall for repeated incidents of unsportsmanlike conduct.
The WSOF signed the submission specialist shortly after his release. Through a translator, Palhares told MMAjunkie it was his fault for holding a heel hook too long in a bout with Mike Pierce that led to his release, and he added there will be no more in-cage problems.
Palhares is widely acknowledged as one of the best jiu-jitsu players in MMA. He has submitted eight career opponents by heel hook or kneebar, often prompting frantic taps as he cranks on limbs. After back-to-back losses against Alan Belcher and Lombard, he rebounded with his first-round submission of Pierce.
Carl submitted veteran Josh Burkman at WSOF 6 to take home the inaugural WSOF welterweight title. He remains undefeated in the promotion and enjoys a seven-fight win streak.
For more on WSOF 9, stay tuned to the MMA Rumors section of the site.
(Pictured: Rousimar Palhares)