UFC: Paulo Costa Opens Up On His Concerns On CTE

UFC middleweight contender Paulo Costa has come out to say that he won’t be fighting once he reaches 36 years old. Undefeated in his professional MMA career to date, the exciting knockout artist has been on a tear since joining the UFC.

Costa is currently 28, which leaves him eight long years to fulfil his UFC ambitions. Given the fighters current form, it’s hard to pick against him, especially after his decision win over Cuban wrestling phenom Yoel Romero last year at UFC 241.

In an interview with AG Fight (as transcribed by Bloody Elbow) the Brazilian admitted that it’s the risk of brain injury that has influenced his recent statement.

“We know that the brain is made of cells that don’t regenerate anymore, we can only lose them. As you age, that amount of cells decreases, so your reflexes become slower, your speech becomes worse, you forget things. I do some research some times. There is Rose, from the Gracie family, she runs a brain donation campaign, for fighters, there’s a whole field of research about that. I want to make my career as soon as possible, conquer everything, then I don’t want to fight after I’m 36. I would gladly give them my brain,” Costa said.

There have been many questions raised in recent years regarding the risks of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) for fighters. In 2019, an autopsy confirmed UFC veteran Tim Hague to be the second former UFC fighter to be officially diagnosed with the condition, which causes memory loss, behavioural issues and eventually dementia. ‘The Thrashing Machine’ unfortunately died in 2017, two days after being knocked out in a boxing event, and was diagnosed posthumously.

With the risks still fairly under researched in the sport, Costa has been actively exploring ways to minimise head trauma.

“That’s a pretty serious issue, because we don’t have the data to find out how much that can affect each of us. Each one will have different symptoms and will react different to that amount of strikes, What you can do is fight in a way that minimizes those blows to the head. During a training session, you can wear protective gear, like helmets. That can really minimize the damage. I wear big gloves, I never spar in MMA gloves, I always wear 16-ounce gloves, so I can avoid strikes to the head.”

Costa has now won five out of five in the UFC and is set to challenge Israel Adesanya for the UFC middleweight title in his next outing to the Octagon.

Do you think Paulo Costa will win the UFC middleweight belt before he retires?

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