For a period, middleweight destroyers Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa were expected to collide this spring. In a surprising twist, however, Romero was then matched up with Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza, leaving Costa without an opponent.
Speaking on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on Monday, Romero stated that he heard Paulo Costa had been flagged for a potential United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) violation — the reason he’s apparently been pulled from this fight.
This weighty accusation has not yet been confirmed or denied by USADA or the UFC. It’s also been vehemently denied by Costa’s camp.
Nonetheless, it did not take long for a handful of Costa’s middleweight rivals to start taking shots at him.
One of the first to do so was former UFC middleweight champ Chris Weidman.
“If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck,” Weidman wrote of Paulo Costa.
“Damn cheaters!” the former champ added in a followup Tweet.
Top UFC middleweight contender Israel Adesanya also took a moment to target Paulo Costa.
“Free range, No GMO!! Maybe he’s born with it, maybe it’s açaí,” Adesanya wrote. “Sips tea in yoruba #everybodysonsteroids #hitsblunt”.
Uriah Hall, a former opponent of Paulo Costa, also made a comment on Twitter, although it seems to have been deleted.
To reiterate, Romero’s comments about Costa’ remain purely rumor at present, and Costa’s team has denied these rumors completely.
Stay tuned for further updates on this Paulo Costa situation as they emerge.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 3/12/2019.