The Most Troubled MMA Card in History

Posted on May 24, 2010


Impact FC has released a promotional poster for an upcoming event in Brisbane, Australia. And…well, look at some of the names.

Good Lord, that is the most troubled MMA card ever. A quick rundown of some of the participants for Island of Misfit Toys 2010:

Josh Barnett: Barnett was the former UFC Heavyweight Champion who, in 2002, tested positive for three metabolic agents (boldenone metabolite, fluoxymesterone metabolite, and nandrolone metabolite). In fact, it was the rampant talk and speculation of Barnett’s use of PEDs that prompted Athletic Commissions to begin drug testing of MMA competitors. Barnett denied the results and spent the next six plus years fighting in Japan.

He returned to North America in 2009 with Affliction. His second fight with the promotion was scheduled to be against legendary heavyweight (and WAMMA Heavyweight Champion) Fedor Emelianenko. However, ten days before the event was to take place, the California State Athletic Commission announced that Barnett had once again tested positive for anabolic steroids and was taken off the card. The result was the cancellation of the entire event and the folding of the promotion, which led many to single out Barnett as the primary trigger for the failure of the venture. Barnett again vehemently denied any steroid use, claiming a conspiracy against him. He was asked to take a second test to back up his claims, which he subsequently failed.

Karo Parisyan – Parisyan was a Judo expert who was heralded for years as a Welterweight contender but never delivered on the promise of his skills. In 2008, he pulled out of a fight with Yoshiyuki Yoshida due to a back injury that occurred right before the event was to take place. It was thought he had recovered from his injury when he fought Korean fighter Kim Dong-hyun, however his performance was plodding and he was given a controversial split decision. Confirming suspicions in light of his performance, Parisyan tested positive for painkillers hydrocodone, hydromorphone, and oxymorphone. MMA circles were afire with talks of Parisyan missing practices and becoming addicted to the prescription medication he was given in 2008.

The UFC tried to bring him back after a nine-month suspension to fight Dustin Hazelett last Fall, however Parisyan inexplicably pulled out of the fight the day before the event was to take place. UFC President Dana White subsequently declared him persona non grata from the UFC, stating Parisyan gave him a “laundry list of excuses” that didn’t quite add up. Again, talk arose from friends that Parisyan was suffering from a painkiller addiction. Parisyan himself opened up about an anxiety disorder, saying that had contributed greatly to his troubles.

In recent months, Parisyan himself began rumors that he might show up in Strikeforce. When contacted by his camp, the promotion informed him that they were not interested. Ouch.

Jeff Monson – Monson is a veteran of more or less every major promotional organization, including getting a title shot against Tim Sylvia when he was the UFC’s Heavyweight Champion. After the loss he spent time in Japan, but kept his name Stateside with his controversial and outspoken political stances, which include tattoos of a hammer & sickle as well as an Anarchist symbol adorning his body. To the best of my knowledge, nobody has yet informed Jeff that those two political philosophies are diametrically opposed to each other.

In January 2009 he was arrested for spraypainting an anarchist symbol on a federal building while ESPN: The Magazine photographed him in the act. Days later a warrant was issued for charges of property damage and domestic violence in Mocksville, N.C. The charges were later dropped.

Paulo Filho – Oh good Lord, where do we even start? Poor Paulo was once considered amongst the top five middleweights in all of MMA when he was the champion of his weight class in WEC. Then came a fateful defense against Chael Sonnen wherein he appeared apprehensive, confused, and – according to Chael – kept making bizarre requests of his opponent to bring the fight to the ground. It was his final fight with the promotion, and promises of a fledging UFC career and eventual title shot at Anderson Silva went up in smoke.

Filho made the move to Japan, debuting for DREAM in impressive fashion by armbarring a much larger and tenacious Melvin Manhoef. He missed his next scheduled fight due to what at the time were said to be depression. His mother came forth and said that it was actually VISA issues and blamed the DREAM promotion for the problems. Meanwhile, nobody could seem to get ahold of Paulo himself.

Things only got stranger after. He took a contract with Bitetti, a homebound promotion that ideally would prevent any problems with getting to his scheduled bouts. He won his first fight via unanimous decision, then dropped out of his second fight a week prior to the event due to undisclosed “personal problems.” Just hours later it was announced Filho would make the fight after all, but then he no-showed the weigh-ins and the fight was cancelled.

Bellator Fighting Championship tried to bring in Filho to fight their Middleweight champion Hector Lombard in a non-title affair, but he claimed more VISA problems and was replaced by Jay Silva.