Friday, December 2, 2022

Robert Whittaker To Paulo Costa: “You’re A Bloody Mess, Mate”

Former UFC Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker has slammed fellow contender Paulo Costa for his “garbage” weight issues during UFC Vegas 41 fight week, branding him a “bloody mess.”

After over a year away from action following his title fight defeat to Israel Adesanya at UFC 253 last September, Costa returned to the cage in last weekend’s main event. Inside the UFC Apex, “The Eraser” faced fellow former title challenger Marvin Vettori. In a largely competitive five-round affair, both men put up a grueling pace and entertained the fans with a Fight of the Year contender.

With a higher volume, impressive stamina, and formidable chin, Vettori visibly had the edge, something which was reflected on the scorecards. Having lost to Adesanya himself at UFC 263 in June, “The Italian Dream” immediately rebounded with a unanimous decision victory over Costa.

Despite showing glimpses of the power he possesses and the danger he poses every time he enters the cage, last week’s event did nothing to boost the already faltering popularity of Costa within the MMA community, and likely the UFC. Costa’s performance against Adesanya did some damage. Not only was the performance bizarre, but the Brazilian laid the blame on a boozy night of wine drinking ahead of his title opportunity.

Making no attempts to redeem himself, “Borrachinha” withdrew from a scheduled fight with Jared Cannonier earlier this year citing fighter pay issues. Given his prior antics, not many, including Dana White, believed he had a right to complain. To compound the damage already done, Costa entered UFC Vegas 41 fight week nearly 30 pounds over the middleweight limit. After then failing to make the agreed upon 195-pound catchweight bout, the headlining fight was bumped to light heavyweight.

While his behavior certainly irked the promotion and the fans, many fighters have also spoken out against Costa’s conduct. The latest to do so is Robert Whittaker. Speaking during an appearance on Fox Sports’ Fight Week, the New Zealand-born Australian questioned why fighters have contracts if they can turn up and demand a weight class change.

“Honestly, it’s just complete bullshit… it was garbage,” he said. “Why have contracts and rules and sign dotted lines for anything if you’re just going to go up and do whatever you want?”

Whittaker added that Costa’s professionalism wouldn’t have been acceptable at local shows, yet alone in the UFC. The former 185-pound champ praised Vettori for accepting the bout, but described Costa’s actions as a “mess.”

“I know amateur fighters who fight on local scenes with 100 people that watch who have more professionalism than he showed on the weekend.

“You could see he wasn’t going to make it, they made catchweight days prior because they knew he wasn’t going to make it. He didn’t make the catchweight, so they had to bump it up again… Hats of to Vettori for taking that fight like a stud, keeping the card alive. And Costa, you’re a bloody mess mate.” 

Whittaker will no doubt display the expected level of professionalism when he returns to action next year. After a delay due to COVID-19 restrictions, “The Reaper” is set to challenge Israel Adesanya for the UFC Middleweight Championship at UFC 271 on February 12. “The Last Stylebender” dethroned Whittaker in 2019. The former champ will be looking to exact his revenge when they enter the Octagon together for the second time.

What did you make of Paulo Costa’s conduct last week? Do you agree with Robert Whittaker?