Costa defeated former middleweight champion, Luke Rockhold, in the UFC 278 co-main event on Saturday. It was a back-and-forth war between the two middleweights, with Costa coming out victorious via a unanimous decision.
As he successfully made weight at the official weigh-ins, Costa took the opportunity to yell ‘F*** USADA’ in front of the media in attendance. He later alleged that USADA woke him up early in the morning just hours before weigh-ins for a pre-fight drug test.
Costa, one of the most tested fighters by USADA in 2021, was furious with the incident and distraction as he was in the middle of cutting weight. White would later ensure that this wouldn’t happen again to Costa or any other UFC fighter going forward.
Dana White Makes Amends With Paulo Costa Following Intrusive USADA Testing
During his UFC 278 post-fight press conference, White revealed that he apologized to Costa at the ceremonial weigh-ins for the surprise early morning wake-up by USADA.
“I apologized to him on stage,” White said of Costa’s USADA test. “That’ll never happen again to any fighter.”
White was then asked if the UFC has control over situations involving USADA and fighters like Costa.
“Listen, they don’t know about fighting the way that people who know about fighting know about fighting,” White said of USADA. “Don’t go in and test a guy at 6 in the morning when he’s cutting weight. The results gonna be the same a few hours later. You wait.”
Costa went on to defeat Rockhold and rebounded following back-to-back losses. He moved a step closer to another potential middleweight title shot and a chance at revenge against UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya.
The USADA-UFC collaboration has brought integrity to the sport of MMA, although it isn’t without some blind spots and challenges. After Costa’s surprise wake up, it appears that the two sides intend to make changes in how they approach pre-fight testing.
What are your thoughts on the state of the UFC-USADA partnership?