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Paulo Costa unfazed by USADA suspension that benched his physician: ‘He’s still my doctor, I call him wizard’

UFC Fight Night Santos v Anders: Weigh-Ins Photo by Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) recently handed down a two-year suspension to Dr. Lucas Penchel of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, for administering prohibited IV infusions to top middleweight contender Paulo Costa and his brother, Carlos Costa.

Under the terms of his timeout, Penchel is unable to work with Costa as manager, coach, trainer, second, corner man, agent, or medical personnel, but that hasn’t stopped “The Eraser” from continuing their doctor-patient relationship.

“Dr. Lucas Penchel knows everything, I call him wizard,” Costa told AG Fight (via Bloody Elbow). “But USADA has an important and necessary role in the sport, which is to oversee substance abuse, that’s something I completely support. At the same time, they want to prove their worth and go over the line, punishing people that don’t deserve. The UFC puts a lot of money on USADA, so they need to show some work. Sometimes they go over the line and look for things that aren’t there, they look to punish people who did nothing wrong.”

Costa served his own suspension for the IV infraction back in early 2019.

“Dr. Lucas has never done anything wrong, he’s a reliable person,” he said. “I had a dehydration problem and came this close of not being able to fight, my stomach hurt and everything. He helped us get a medical prescription and the allowed amount of saline solution. Because he’s a doctor and would not deny helping me, he prescribed that in order to ease the pain, all within USADA’s rules. We could not prove it, though, so USADA sanctioned the punishment. It does not affect his work, though. He’s still my doctor.”

Costa (13-0), who last competed against Yoel Romero back in Aug. 2019, is expected to make his return from biceps surgery later this year, where he’ll challenge reigning 185-pound kingpin Israel Adesanya for the middleweight title.

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