Costa’s comments came ahead of his main event clash against Marvin Vettori this weekend. After over a year away from the cage, the Brazilian is set to return to action inside the Apex in the UFC Vegas 41 headliner.
Costa’s last outing came against UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya. On Fight Island last September, “The Eraser” was tipped as the man who could dethrone “The Last Stylebender.” However, in an inactive and lacklustre performance, the previously unbeaten challenger was finished by Adesanya in the second round.
He’ll be looking to rebound against another former title challenger in Vettori on Saturday. “The Italian Dream,” who’d previously lost to Adesanya in 2018, rematched the Nigerian-New Zealander for the middleweight gold at UFC 263 in June. Despite going the 25-minute distance with the champ, Vettori was comfortably beaten on the judges’ scorecards. Both men will be looking to move one step closer to a second crack at the division’s throne with a victory on October 23.
While the excitement remains high for the matchup, Costa’s weight issues have thrown a spanner in the works. With his 211-pound frame unable to make the 186-pound limit, talks of a catchweight bout are seemingly ongoing. Both men appeared to accept a 195-pound limit during an interview with ESPN MMA’s Brett Okamoto.
However, the Brazilian’s weight issue wasn’t the only revelation Costa made at UFC Vegas 41 media day. The 30-year-old also stated that he won’t be getting vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus unless he has to in order to fight. The Belo Horizonte-born middleweight cited his age, health, and previous experiences with Covid as his reasons for avoiding the vaccine.
“I got Covid twice, so I’m not gonna, I’m not willing to take the vaccine. It’s an unnecessary risk for my body. I’m healthy, I’m young, I have an athletic body. If I’ve got to take [the vaccine] to fight somewhere, it’s case to case, so I’m gonna think about it when I have the opportunity,” Costa said via a translator.
Costa’s comments on the vaccine come just days after the United States government introduced a new mandate. A report that was obtained by MMAJunkie revealed that whilst the UFC is not requiring vaccines, regulations for the U.S. will force international athletes to be vaccinated to compete.
UFC President Dana White has repeatedly stated that the promotion will respect the rights of its fighters to choose whether or not they want the vaccine. The recent memo sent out made sure to clarify that the new mandate isn’t a UFC policy.
“To be clear, this is NOT a UFC policy,” the memo reads. “UFC is not requiring you to get vaccinated. We are simply communicating the new guidelines recently announced by the U.S. government.”
What do you make of Paulo Costa’s reason for avoiding the COVID-19 vaccine?