Paulo Costa won’t be fighting at the upcoming Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) return to Australia after all.
It was revealed earlier this week (Mon., Dec. 19, 2022) that Costa’s anticipated bout with Robert Whittaker at UFC 284 in Perth, Australia, on Feb. 11, 2023, was no longer in place. “Borrachinha” has gone as far as to claim it was never a done deal, leading to negotiations falling apart.
As soon as the fight was announced by the promotion on social media, Costa began labeling it as false on a somewhat regular basis.
“I just came in and said the truth,” Costa told The MMA Hour. “It’s a fake. It’s not happening. I think they just actually offer very low numbers for Brazilians. Maybe they think, ‘Ah, those motherf—kers in Brazil, they live in the jungle, they don’t need real money because the currency’s like five times less than dollars, so let’s pay bulls—t.’”
Costa noted that pride is likely also a big factor that leads to fighters from his country being taken advantage of. Guilty of it himself, he figured that now was the time to put his foot down.
“At some point, I should say stop, I will not do that,” Costa said. “But I didn’t, because we’re Brazilians — we just want to fight. We don’t care too much. They say, ‘Okay, you fight that way, let’s go. You fight the No. 5 [ranked fighter],’ [and we’ll say,] ‘Let’s go, I’m okay with that, for the same money.’
“We are doing that for a long time, but it doesn’t help the business for the athletes,” he continued. “This is horrible for the business on the fighter’s side. So you cannot just say yes. Somebody said, ‘If you are good at something, don’t do it for free — or for s—t money.’ ... I did a lot in the past, and it’s enough.”
Rumors began swirling around Costa’s last fight that his contract was coming to an end. The Middleweight contender even began teasing what his final fights would be between his last against Luke Rockhold or whatever came after.
Operating on a show-win payout of $70,000-$70,000, Costa felt it wasn’t enough for a match up the caliber of Whittaker on the former champion’s home soil. Instead, Costa countered by asking the promotion to hand out “a little bit higher” of numbers for his payout and didn’t want to be locked in for a lengthy number of fights like he’s just now getting away from.
“They said, [UFC President] Dana White’s lawyer, [UFC CBO] Hunter Campbell, said ‘We need to make a new six-fight deal.’ I said, ‘No, I’m not going to talk about six fights more. I talk about that one.’ That makes sense,” Costa said. “Why you bring six fights in? I’m talking about that one, to fight Whittaker, not six more. It doesn’t make sense to me.
“I’m not looking for six more fights, not at the numbers that he sent me,” he concluded. “I don’t think this makes sense. I’m talking about one fight specifically, not six. I did this in the past, five years ago, 2017, and I’m paying for this mistake even now, because I’m so [outdated].”