Paulo Costa talks infamous Rockhold blood smear: I just felt he was smashing his face, when I saw it I was pissed

In a recent podcast appearance, Brazilian mixed martial artist Paulo Costa shared his side of the infamous blood-smearing incident that took place during his 2022 bout against Luke Rockhold at UFC 278 in Salt Lake City. The incident has been a topic of discussion among fans and stars alike, with many calling it one of the most unsportsmanlike moments in recent UFC history.

For those who may not recall, during the final moments of the bout, Rockhold was seen smearing his blood on Costa’s face, a gesture that many deemed disrespectful and unsanitary. Rockhold, who has spoken publicly about the incident, described it as a “f-you” moment, aimed at Costa personally.

Costa didn’t initially realize what was happening in the heat of the moment. “I was up on him, and I just felt he was smashing his face,” Costa said. “I see what this guy is doing, and when I saw that, I was pissed off.”

The incident has sparked a wider conversation about sportsmanship and respect in combat sports. While some have defended Costa’s actions as a legitimate form of psychological warfare, others have condemned them as disrespectful and unsportsmanlike.

Rockhold explained the motivation behind the gesture. Rockhold told Helwani:

“That’s just ‘f—k you,’
“I rushed it,” said Rockhold. “I should have had that mount position, its would have been over. You know how that world works. I just rushed into that one, fell behind, kept putting myself behind and couldn’t pick myself back up. I just felt like I was in there with a lesser man and I wanted to show him, ‘you’re my b*tch.’

Poirier had a very similar exchange during his bout against Michael Chandler. Chandler blew bloody snot at Poirier – and Poirier took it very personally.


Costa’s comments are likely to reignite the debate, as he remains irked about Rockhold’s actions.

In the end, Costa’s willingness to persevere through unacceptable behavior has left a lasting impression on the MMA community. Love him or hate him, Paulo Costa has cemented his reputation as one of the most controversial figures in the sport.