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Paulo Costa accepts six-month USADA suspension for IV use in 2017

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UFC 217: Hendricks v Costa Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight contender Paulo Costa violated United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) protocol after all.

According to a press release early Friday, Costa accepted a six-month suspension after receiving prohibited IV infusions twice in 2017. The first unauthorized use occurred in June 2017 when the Brazilian fighter received an IV of more than 100 mL during a 12-hour period following a successful weight cut for his fight opposite Oluwale Bamgbose at UFC 212. The same unauthorized IV use occurred again in November 2017 for Costa’s battle with former UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks at UFC 217.

Because Costa did not receive a therapeutic-use exemption for either IV use, which included saline solution and a stomach medication, he was eventually suspended. Costa’s coach, Carlos Costa, was also suspended six months for administering the IV.

From USADA’s official press release:

USADA announced today that UFC Athlete Paulo Costa and one of his Athlete Support Personnel, Carlos Costa, of Contagem, Brazil, have each accepted a six-month sanction for violations of the UFC® Anti-Doping Policy for use and administration, respectively, of a prohibited method.

Based on video and other corroborating evidence, USADA determined that on June 2, 2017, Paulo Costa, 27, received an intravenous infusion (IV) of permitted substances, including saline solution and a stomach medication, of more than 100 mL per 12-hour period after weigh-in for UFC 212 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, without a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE). On November 3, 2017, Paulo Costa again received an IV infusion of permitted substances of more than 100 mL per 12-hour period after weigh-in for UFC 217 in New York City, New York, without a TUE.

According to USADA, Costa’s suspension began back on Aug. 10, 2018 and ended on Feb. 10, which means the Brazilian fighter is currently eligible to return to action.

In addition to his suspension, Costa also accrued a financial penalty for his unauthorized IV use, per USADA:

Paulo Costa’s use of a prohibited method on June 2, 2017 also falls under the jurisdiction of the Comissão Atlética Brasileira de MMA (CABMMA), which has recognized USADA’s sanction and will additionally fine Paulo $4,000 (1/3 of the UFC 212 purse), all of which will revert to his opponent in UFC 212. In addition, the New York State Athletic Commission has resolved Paulo Costa’s case arising from the November 3, 2017, IV with no period of ineligibility and a $9,333.33 fine (1/3 of the UFC 217 purse). Neither Commission will impose any additional sanction on Carlos Costa.

Costa, 28, has dominated the competition since entering UFC back in 2017. The former Jungle Fight middleweight champion has earned four-straight Octagon wins, all by way of knockout, en route to pushing his undefeated professional MMA record to 12-0.

While Costa utilized these unauthorized IV infusions to help recover from strenuous weight cuts in 2017, the middleweight contender made good on his recent Octagon appearance against Uriah Hall back at 226 last year. That victory could line Costa up for a showdown with Yoel Romero later this year.