Last month it was announced that perennial top UFC middleweight contender, Yoel Romero would be rematching with Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza in the main event of UFC Fort Lauderdale on April 27. That is opposed to Romero fighting Paulo Costa who he was originally expected to face.
Costa and Romero have been linked to fights with one another on two separate occasions now. The first of which was targeted for UFC 230 in November 2018. The reason for the fight not coming to fruition was due to Romero still recovering from a broken orbital bone.
This time around, a few days after Romero and Jacare 2 was announced, the Cuban wrestling legend revealed that he had heard that an incident with a USADA test failure was the reason for Costa not being able to fight him at this time.
Of course, this was just speculation as one of USADA’s new policies keeps the results of testings private until they have been concluded to avoid defamation and false accusations. This is especially important in the cases of tainted supplements.
Now getting his chance to speak, Costa has clarified his situation.
“I was called to fight Romero,” Costa explained to Combate. “I signed the contract; he hadn’t signed it. He’d gone to a reality show, and we were in this indecision of whether he’d be able to fight or not. When he came back from the reality show and was able to sign the contract at last – in the same week he was back, the New York Athletic State Commission asked me to make a statement about a medication I’d taken for my stomach. And then they said, ‘In order for you to answer this, you won’t be able to fight, unfortunately. You’re unfortunately going to be ineligible for this fight because you need to notify to us what it is that you took for your stomach.’
“It was a simple medicine, ‘Plasil’ (used commonly in Brazil for nausea). It’s not doping. It has nothing to do with doping. You take it when you feel some type of stomach discomfort. So because of that – I didn’t understand it, either – they said that I couldn’t fight him, because I had to figure this out first.”
Since the speculation began in regards to Costa’s inactivity, Romero has pulled out of the fight himself as he came down with an illness. Jacare is now set to face the recent impressive winner of UFC Philadelphia’s co-main event, Jack ‘The Joker’ Hermansson.
As for who Costa wants for his return fight, he has that same name in mind.
“I’ll fight anyone,” Costa said. “Anyone who’s better ranked can be my next opponent. But I believe that, since Jacare took the fight with [Jack] Hermansson and it will happen on the 27th, then Romero and I will be there to fight. I believe pneumonia is not an injury that requires weeks or months [to recover] from. I believe in a week, two, maybe he’ll be ready to get back to training. So we can fight.
“It could be in May, June. Whenever he’s ready, I can fight in May, in order to lose the weight. I believe if I fight Romero, whomever wins will have their hand at the title shot.”
For the undefeated 12-0 Brazilian, whoever he fights next will be his first fight of 2019 and he hopes to fight two or three times in the year.
His last fight came in July 2018 at UFC 226 when he put on a show with Uriah Hall before scoring the second round TKO. Thus continuing his unbelievable streak of finishes (11 knockouts/TKOs, one submission).
As for Romero’s initial speculation, Costa wasn’t too happy with it.
“It’s bad,” He said. “Even though it was a false rumor, it creates that ‘smoke,’ like people say. Until people realize it’s not like that at all, maybe it gives a bad image, you get a bad image.
“But there’s nothing to say. Simply none of that happened. I never used any of these artifices, such as doping or anything like that. And USADA is there to prove that. I will hit him with more gusto. I will, for sure. Each strike will have some extra pleasure.”
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 4/9/2019