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Coach: Paulo Costa never stopped training after COVID-19 diagnosis, hasn’t fully recovered

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UFC 253 Adesanya v Costa Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

Paulo Costa was recently forced to withdraw from his scheduled fight against Robert Whittaker — which was set to go down on April 17, 2021 — due to a severe case of the flu. But according to his coach and brother, Carlos, he actually tested positive for COVID-19 a month ago.

According to Costa, his brother had moderate symptoms of coronavirus. Soon thereafter, however, he came down with the flu. Furthermore, “Borrachinha” never stopped training after his COVID-19 diagnosis, which could have made things worse.

“We just want to postpone [the fight] a week or two so ‘Borrachinha’ can recover,” Carlos Costa told MMA Fighting on Tuesday. “He had COVID and then had the flu, and the flu is taking a long time to go away. We just want to postpone [the fight].”

“[Paulo’s] symptoms were moderate,” Carlos said. “But there’s an issue: He never stopped training. He continued training. He hasn’t fully recovered since then,” he added. “He had sore throat, and then a huge secretion in the chest. His physical conditioning dropped a little bit, and then a few weeks ago he had this severe flu. We’ll get [a] chest X-ray and other exams done to see if COVID has affected anything.”

If you recall, one of the gripes UFC President Dana White had with Khamzat Chimaev was his refusal to stop training after his diagnosis. “Borz” came down with the virus in late 2020, and hasn’t been able to shake the effects since, leading to multiple cancelations of his scheduled bout against Leon Edwards.

As far as Costa goes, if he is able to return at the beginning of May, then postponing the fight two or three weeks isn’t that long of a wait for Whittaker.