While the pending results of a random drug test has Saturday’s World Series of Fighting 9 headliner up in the air, Rousimar Palhares wants to assure everyone there’s nothing to fear.
Palhares (15-6), who is scheduled to challenge Steve Carl (21-3) for the WSOF welterweight title this weekend in Las Vegas, was ordered to uproot his training camp from Brazil to travel stateside for a random pre-fight drug test.
After being suspended for PED use in the past, the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which will oversee the NBC Sports Network-aired event from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, wanted to make sure no foul play was involved in the fight.
Although cutting his training camp short to take the test in “Sin City” was somewhat of an inconvenience, Palhares says he is embracing the chance to shake any doubts about his status as a clean fighter.
“I think it’s a good opportunity to prove I’m completely clean,” Palhares recently told MMAjunkie Radio through a translator. “I’m actually happy about that. It takes a whole lot of trouble out of my way. I’m clean – they can test me whenever they want, and nothing’s going to happen.”
Should the worst take place and the test results come back positive, WSOF officials already have announced a backup plan is in place to serve as the new main event.
On Tuesday, WSOF matchmaker Ali Abdelaziz told MMAjunkie Radio that he expects to get the results of Palhares’ test from the NSAC on Wednesday. He also said the backup plan is to have Tyler Stinson pulled from his fight against Josh Burkman to fight Steve Carl, instead.
Palhares is confident no issues will arise, though, and says he’s actually happy he was forced to travel stateside earlier than usual because he has more time to adapt to his surroundings.
“I’m not upset at all,” Palhares said. “There’s positive and negatives. I get to adapt earlier. I’m sleeping well because there is always a lot of jetlag.”
While Palhares has stayed relaxed through the entire process and is rolling with the punches, his manager, Alex Davis, was far more opinionated.
Davis understands why the decision to test Palhares was made, but he also thinks the commission should have ordered the “random” test for a date further from the fight to allow more time to organize travel.
“It’s not that simple to stop everything you’re doing, bring a guy to the States and get him tested,” Davis explained. “It’s a lot of stress for me as a manager, but not only that, I don’t see the point in it. The only thing that would show up yesterday would also show up the day of the fight, so I didn’t see the point.”
While outside distractions continue to run amuck as the days to WSOF 9 wind down, Palhares isn’t letting anything deter his focus from the fight.
The 34-year-old is hungry to capture his first major MMA championship, and even though he respects Carl’s talent, he thinks the gold is meant to come back to Brazil.
“I know he’s a great fighter. It’s going to be a great fight, and I’ve come to show I’m the best man.”
For more on WSOF 9, stay tuned to the MMA Rumors section of the site.
MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, MMAjunkie lead staff reporter John Morgan and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.
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