Paulo Costa had been vocal leading into UFC 278 about how dissatisfied with his contract he was. Costa first signed the typical $10k to show $10k to win contract but that was subsequently renegotiated.
Paulo Costa won by decision at UFC 278 against Luke Rockhold delivering one of all time classic MMA moments when Rockhold smeared himself against his face.
“Yes. I’m looking forward to being free agent for sure … I’m at the high high level, fighting the best in this division and my contract is so old. Too old. And when I fought Marvin Vettori, I got $35,000. “
“For this one [at UFC 278], is a couple more, I got the win bonus and because when I fought Marvin Vettori, I got 20% deduction [for missing weight] … I need to talk, to see with [UFC], and see. I’m not rushing up to sign, but we need to see. We need to figure out. I’m not happy with the current contract, of course.”
Costa shared how his negotiations went with Shakiel Mahjouri saying he too was on a $10,000 to show plus $10,000 to win contract initially. He added his first contract was for 4 bouts but after 2 knockouts UFC called him to extend his deal.
The change UFC offered was from $12,000 base to a $20,000 to show, $20,000 to win and it was for 5 bouts. Costa said no to the offer. He was matched with former champion Johny Hendricks.
“When I signed up with the UFC, I got the regular contract – I think 10 To stand if you win, after that the second one is 12 to stand (*show) and then 14 and for you know, so I signed for four fights. ”
“After fight (against Oluwale Bamgbose)… UFC called me to renew my contract.”
“So they call me to renew the contract. And but I don’t like the agreement, because they just put it – the changes was 12 to 12 to 20 plus 20”
Costa wouldn’t agree to 20 plus 20 and UFC was reluctant to up the offer opting to see how Costa fares against former champion Johny Hendricks.
“I beat him and say Okay. (UFC say) so let’s pay you 50 plus 50. So that’s better. But I think we can push it up more. And and what I told about Ismail, (he) is be more conservative. He say is a good good agreement, so I sign”
After Costa had a victory over Hendrick the offer got substantially better – it was now $50,000 to show and $50,000 to win. Now Costa felt he’d still be slighted but his former manager convinced him to take the deal.
Costa had no ill will toward Ismail but added that he took the deal and had his title shot just 4 bouts later meaning basically that he was effectively underpaid for the title shot.
And while on that contract, Costa would receive his title shot against Adesanya.
Costa shared “I would like to push a little bit more”
Dana White previously slammed Costa for asking to be compensated better saying:
“You should have started a YouTube channel when you were thirteen years old and built your name up and everything else, and you could have had the fight on Saturday night, but you didn’t.”
But when you consider that Costa received only $35000 for a 25 minute bout against Vettori the optics are scary.