World Series of Fighting (WSOF) 9: "Carl vs. Palhares" will be taking place this weekend (March 29, 2014), but the main event could look drastically different than advertised.
The headliner is expected to be WSOF welterweight champion Steve Carl defending his belt for the first time against former UFC bad boy Rousimar Palhares, yet a drug test needs to come back clean before the fighters step into the cage this Saturday night.
A few weeks back, "Toquinho" was asked to take a random drug test for the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), unable to take the test in his home land of Brazil where he was located. The former UFC fighter landed in the United States last week to take the test on Monday, with the results expected to come in by the end of this week.
WSOF senior executive vice president and matchmaker Ali Abdel-Aziz confirmed the news on a conference call last Tuesday.
This creates quite the problem since his bout against Carl is on Saturday. The results could be arriving on 24 or 48 hours notice before the fight, with the possibility of Palhares not being able to compete at the event if the results come in positive.
It may be unfair to criticize Palhares and jump to conclusions, although the submission specialist did piss hot for his fight against Hector Lombard at UFC on FOX 6 back in 2012.
His opponent, who dropped by The MMA Hour earlier this week, isn't too worried, as much as he is disappointed that he may not be able to showcase his skills against the toughest combatant on the roster.
"Yeah, somewhat, but I'm not letting it affect me. I'm going to fight on Saturday regardless, so that's what my mind is set on."
If the Brazilian fails the test, unable to compete Saturday evening, Strikeforce and Bellator veteran Tyler Stinson will step up to the plate and challenge the Iowan for his world title.
The current champ is cool with that, but it's not the fight he prefers.
"I would prefer Rousimar Palhares. That's the bigger fight, more notoriety, that's the fight that the world's watching; that's the fight that everybody wants to see."
Helwani then opted to hint Palhares might be entering this fight on steroids, in which Carl agreed, and just wishes his opponent passes the drug test regardless of what he could be doing on his free time.
"He's known about this fight for a while, so I mean, there is a good possibility that he's on something, because it's definitely hard to take those types of steroids or supplements and stay a top-level athlete once you get yourself back off them. So, most athletes I think still take it and try to cycle off in time. I hope he was smart about it and got his levels back down. There's a lot of guys in this sport that do illegal things, but the thing is they don't test for it. We get tested the day of the fight, and a lot of these people are taking the TRTs, and you can cycle off of it a week before and be completely fine going into the fight. I think that's a huge unfair advantage for guys like me who go in there all natural."
It's safe to say Carl, who is currently on a seven-fight winning streak, which includes a submission win over former UFC fighter Josh Burkman to capture the strap, isn't too worried about the whole ordeal.
You could say he's even less worried about Palhares' bad reputation of cranking his opponents limbs well after he had won the fight, and feels like if that would happen to him, it would be irrelevant since he'd already lost the fight.
The Brazilian was cut from UFC after defeating Mike Pierce at UFC Fight Night 29 last October.
"A lot of people have asked me about that, and my take on it, my perspective right now, I'm not too worried about it, because if that same exact scenario happens to me, it doesn't really matter in my mind because I already lost. If I'm tapping, he's not letting go, I lost, I'm already tapping saying I give up. I'm still going to be alive at the end of the day."
Talk about being calm before the storm.
WSOF 9 takes place this Saturday night on NBC Sports Network, and also features the inaugural bantamweight championship match between Marlon Moraes against Josh Rettinghouse, along with Josh Burkman against Stinson -- unless "The Evolution" earns the main event call up by default.
Stay tuned for the juicy details, Maniacs.