There has been all kinds of speculation surrounding UFC middleweight Paulo Costa and why he hasn’t been booked to fight Yoel Romero or ‘Jacare’ Souza. But now the Brazilian has finally given his side of the story. Speaking to the Brazilian MMA outlet Combate (as transcribed by MMA Junkie), Costa explained the sequence of events.

“I was called to fight Romero. I signed the contract; he hadn’t signed it. He’d gone to a reality show, and we were in this indecision of whether he’d be able to fight or not. When he came back from the reality show and was able to sign the contract at last – in the same week he was back, the New York Athletic State Commission asked me to make a statement about a medication I’d taken for my stomach. And then they said, ‘In order for you to answer this, you won’t be able to fight, unfortunately. You’re unfortunately going to be ineligible for this fight because you need to notify to us what it is that you took for your stomach.’

“It was a simple medicine, ‘Plasil’ (used commonly in Brazil for nausea). It’s not doping. It has nothing to do with doping. You take it when you feel some type of stomach discomfort. So because of that – I didn’t understand it, either – they said that I couldn’t fight him, because I had to figure this out first.”

With Costa out of the picture, the UFC made the Romero vs ‘Jacare’ rematch for the UFC Fort Lauderdale main event instead. However due to pneumonia, Romero was forced to pull out. Which obviously led to calls from the fans for the UFC to make the straightforward choice of bringing in Costa as a replacement.

Which of course the UFC did. And Costa went on to say that he originally said yes, before realising that he wouldn’t have enough time to cut down to 186lbs in time.

“I wasn’t in camp, I wasn’t doing intense training. Because I stopped training after knowing I was no longer fighting Yoel. I spent almost a month, basically resting, doing low, light maintenance, in low-intensity. They gave me an opportunity to fight ‘Jacare.’

“I accepted it but for May. But for April 27th, it would have been impossible. I can’t lose [40 pounds] and train at high intensity with just 20 days.”

Without Costa explaining until now the reasons for not accepting either fight, speculation grew as to why. Speculation that obviously grew significantly after Romero told Ariel Helwani the reason he wasn’t fighting Costa, was because he had failed a drug test. You can watch Romero tell Helwani here.

The comments weren’t appreciated by the unbeaten middleweight, who said he will take it out on Romero inside the Octagon when they finally meet.

“It’s bad. Even though it was a false rumour, it creates that ‘smoke,’ like people say. Until people realize it’s not like that at all, maybe it gives a bad image, you get a bad image.

“But there’s nothing to say. Simply none of that happened. I never used any of these artifices, such as doping or anything like that. And USADA is there to prove that. I will hit him with more gusto. I will, for sure. Each strike will have some extra pleasure.”

And Costa doesn’t think he’ll have to wait long to get his hands on Romero, expecting that they could still face each other next.

“I’ll fight anyone. Anyone who’s better ranked can be my next opponent. But I believe that, since ‘Jacare’ took the fight with [Jack] Hermansson and it will happen on the 27th, then Romero and I will be there to fight. I believe pneumonia is not an injury that requires weeks or months [to recover] from. I believe in a week, two, maybe he’ll be ready to get back to training. So we can fight.

“It could be in May, June. Whenever he’s ready, I can fight in May, in order to lose the weight. I believe if I fight Romero, whomever wins will have their hand at the title shot.”

Do you want to see Costa vs Romero finally go down next?



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