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Paulo Costa claims main event withdrawal due to lack of pay, says he ‘never signed that contract’

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

Paulo Costa wants his main event money and he wants it now.

The middleweight contender was expected to fight Jared Cannonier on Aug. 21, but news leaked Friday night that Costa had pulled out of the main event bout. There was no explanation given for Costa’s withdrawal at that time as UFC officials quickly booked Kelvin Gastelum to step into the headliner.

Fortunately, Costa took to social media late into the night to offer fight fans some sort of clarity on the situation. After all, this is the second-straight main event fight Costa has been forced to withdraw from having stepped away from his April clash with Robert Whittaker due to the flu.

This time around, Costa is pointing the finger at UFC and believes his main event scrap against Cannonier fell through because the promotion failed to pay up.

UFC needs to pay me as main fighter to have fighting in main events. Youtubers are showing all disgrace on this business.

Surprisingly, Costa also mentioned that his scheduled bout with Cannonier for Aug. 21 was never actually signed. He doesn’t understand why the promotion announced the booking if terms weren’t finalized.

Just to be clear. I never signed or locked up that contract. Why ufc announced this fight if didn’t signed? My question too

Costa, 30, hasn’t competed since a TKO loss to rival and current UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya back in Sept. 2020. “Borrachinha” brought an undefeated MMA record and a lot of trash talk into that title fight, but came up considerably short. There may be a difference in opinion between Costa and UFC as to where he slots into the current mix at 185 pounds following that loss, but at least the promotion was still offering up a main event slot.

It remains to be seen if the promotion is going to try to get Costa another opponent for later this year. Considering he was just booked and withdrew due to monetary issues it may be a while before we see him compete inside of the Octagon again. After all, we’ve seen fighters in this situation before and UFC doesn’t always budge.

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