World Series of Fighting brought in Rousimar "Toquinho" Palhares in hopes of adding a big name to their welterweight division. That addition has brought more talent and more headaches for the budding promotion.
According to WSOF matchmaker Ali Abdel-Aziz, the Nevada State Athletic Commission has demanded Palhares undergo enhanced testing before being cleared for his March 29 championship bout with Steve Carl.
It is not an unreasonable request considering Palhares tested positive for elevated testosterone levels after his December 2012 knockout loss to Hector Lombard. The problem for WSOF officials is they just got word of the request earlier this week and Palhares was in Brazil training.
With no accredited labs in the South American country, Palhares is going to be forced to come to the U.S. Sunday and finish his camp in Las Vegas. To make matters more difficult, the promotion will not even know if he will be cleared until the Wednesday before the fight because there is a 10 day window between collection and delivery of results.
This has forced the organization into scramble mode to prepare for the possibility of one of their main event fighters dropping off the card at the 11th hour.
“I really believe Palhares is clean,” said Abdel-Aziz, “but we have to make sure we are ready for anything.”
In the event of a positive test Abdel-Aziz told Sherdog.com that he will shuffle his card and that Tyler Stinson, who is slated to face former champion Josh Burkman, would most likely get the call to face Carl for the title.
That would open up another hole across from Burkman, which would be filled by one of the other welterweights on the card.
The musical chairs can be avoided as long as Palhares can gain approval from the commission, but there will be quite a few people sweating this one out for the next 10 days.
“We understand the commission wants to make sure fighters are clean but they really didn’t give us much time to plan for this,” said Abdel-Aziz.
WSOF 9 is set for Las Vegas’ Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and features a co-main event between rising star Marlon Moraes and Josh Rettinghouse for the inaugural WSOF bantamweight title.
Former UFC title challenger Yushin Okami is also slated to make his promotional debut against Svetlozar Savov in a middleweight bout.