Paulo Costa might still be suffering from his TKO loss to Israel Adesanya over a year ago because something isn’t right.
How else could you explain the Brazilian fighter casually telling ESPN’s Brett Okamoto during a joint interview with Marvin Vettori on Wednesday that he will not make the 185-pound middleweight for their headlining UFC Fight Night bout Saturday?
“Hey Marvin, when I came to fight, I came heavy,” Costa told Okamoto and Vettori. “I always came heavy to fight. You have problem with that?”
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Wait … what?
Well, yeah. Memo to Paulo Costa seemingly drifting in space — any fighter should have a problem with the weight for the fight being up in the air three days away from the bout. And the interview only grew stranger from there to the point where Vettori entertained Costa’s bizarre behavior.
“What’s your weight right now? Honestly, what’s your weight right now?” Vettori asked Costa straight up.
“I will tell you but why do you want to know my weight?” Costa shot back with a chuckle.
“I mean, I want to f—ing know!” Vettori said. “You were supposed to make weight. Every fighter in the building is supposed to make weight. We have a moment — it’s called a weigh-in, maybe you don’t know about it — we are supposed to step on a scale and be on some kind of weight. We have a weight division to fight in. You act like you don’t know this s—t.”
Costa seemingly confused with the rules, followed up with: “And which weight are you supposed to weigh on Friday? I don’t care if you weigh 185, 195, 205 — your choice.”
That’s when Vettori was reduced to laughter amidst a cloud of disbelief upon what he was hearing.
“This guy is funny, bro. Like what the f—k? I don’t even know what to say.”
That interview had both fighters agreeing to a catchweight of 195 pounds with Costa having to forfeit 20 percent of his purse but that changed Thursday with the UFC setting the bout at 205 pounds, as reported by ESPN (well, let’s see how that shakes out during Friday's official weigh-in).
Regardless, none of it is OK.
Mixed martial arts is a dangerous sport even when both fighters make weight. We all know this. So, to play games with weight like this a few days from the fight is ridiculous.
Costa was completely unprofessional and you’ve got to wonder if his head is in the game at all going into Saturday. This kind of casual lack of regard for the rules of the sport that every fighter abides by is downright absurd. More than 20 percent of his purse should be slashed for this.
Giving Vettori major credit, he’s hellbent on fighting Costa regardless of the Brazilian’s antics. And Vettori has probably won over new fans by the sheer manner at which he has handled this bizarre situation. However, he shouldn’t have been subjected to this kind of circus. No one should.
Boxers get ripped any time they're two pounds overweight. Costa telling Vettori so matter of factly that he’s 95 kilos — roughly 209 pounds — three days from being locked up in the Octagon is ludicrous.
One has got to wonder what Costa is thinking — or why he’s devoid of thought at all. He's had 14 professional MMA fights. These rules aren't new.
Like Vettori said, it’s as if Costa suddenly doesn’t know the rules.
If Adesanya knocked some of Costa’s wits silly last year, maybe Vettori will knock some sense back into him Saturday night because what we witnessed this week from “The Eraser” was unacceptable.