For the third time, a proposed fight between Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa — which was scheduled to headline UFC on ESPN 3 on April 27, 2019 in Sunrise, Florida — was scratched after Costa was pulled from the fight unexpectedly.
“Soldier of God” was quick to claim a United States Anti Doping (USADA) violation wsa the reason behind “Borrachinha’s” withdrawal, with Paulo and his camp were quick to deny the claims.
A few weeks removed from the cancellation of the bout, Costa has revealed the real reason behind his withdrawal, as he tells Combate (via MMA Fighting) that New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) had fined Paulo for failing to disclose the use of the stomach medication Plasil prior to his fight against Johny Hendricks back in 2017.
That’s right, over a year ago.
“[Romero] came back from a reality show and could finally sign the contract,” Costa told Combate. “(But) on the same week the New York Athletic Commission asked me to talk about a stomach medication I had used. And they said: ‘For you to talk about this, unfortunately you won’t be able to fight. You will be ineligible for this fight because you have to notify us about what you used for your stomach.’ It was a simple medication, Plasil. That’s not doping. You take it when you have stomach pain. So, because of that, I didn’t understand it too, but they said I couldn’t fight, that I had to figure this out first.”
After Costa accepted the fine of $9,333.33 —- which has yet to be paid — UFC had already moved on and booked a rematch between Romero and Jacare Souza. A few weeks later, Romero was forced out of the fight due to illness and was replaced by Jack Hermansson.
Still, Costa revealed that UFC offered him the Souza fight first, and while he would have been glad to accept the fight, it was too short notice to get his weight on track. According to a statement from a NYSAC official obtained by MMA Fighting, the commission did not pull the plug on the fight, it merely fined the hulking Middleweight.
“And now, 20 days before the fight, everything was cleared and they said I was cleared to fight,” Costa said to Combate. “But they only gave me 20 days (to prepare) and I wasn’t in camp, I wasn’t training hard because I stopped training when I knew I wouldn’t fight Romero. I was basically resting for a month, doing light training. They called me to fight in 20 days, gave me the opportunity to fight ‘Jacare’. I accepted it, but for May. It would be impossible (to fight on) April 27. I can’t cut 18kg (39.6 pounds) and train in high intensity in 20 days.”
That said, Costa wasn’t too thrilled with Romero’s claim of failed a USADA test.
“Yes, it’s bad. Despite being a false rumor, it creates that smoke. Until people realize it’s nothing, it gives people a bad image,” said Costa. “However, there’s nothing else to say. Never really happened. I never used anything, no type of doping, anything. And USADA is here to prove it. But I’ll enjoy more beating him up now. Yeah, I will. Every strike will definitely bring more pleasure.”
USADA has yet to reveal whether or not Paulo is under investigation. that said, if and when anything adverse comes to light other than a stomach medication, the drug testing agency isn’t afraid to drop the hammer.