Paulo Costa recently revealed that he will not be taking part in the UFC 284 headliner against Robert Whittaker.
Costa was on the last bout of his contract and unwilling to get into another longterm contract. According to Costa, this contract would have him competing against Whittaker for $70,000 to show, $70,000 to win.
Love him or hate him, $70,000 is a small figure for such a big clash.
Whittaker is one of the hardest competitors in the division and is a very skilled wrestler with a well rounded arsenal. Whittaker’s oblique kicks are rumored to be the cause of Darren Till’s derailed career – Till hasn’t been the same since their clash.
Sean Strickland is now booked to be in the 2nd UFC main event in a row. Strickland faced Cannonier back in December, and has now stepped in on short notice to replace Kelvin Gastelum who suffered a teeth injury in training.
Strickland did an interview with Helen Yee and addressed some of Paulo Costa’s missteps that have led him to a problematic relationship with the brass:
“Here’s the thing about Costa, and I like Costa, but he’s also a f**khead. He doesn’t make weight, he’s an idiot. When you’re a f**khead and you go to the UFC and say, ‘Hey I wanna do this.’ When you don’t do the right things, it’s hard to get the right things back.”
— Paulo Costa ( Borrachinha ) (@BorrachinhaMMA) January 10, 2023
Stepping in on short notice is one of those things UFC brass loves – so Strickland’s future is safe despite the fact that he has back to back losses to Pereira and Cannonier. It should be mentioned that the decision against Cannonier was a close one.
As for Costa, his future is debatable. While it’s understandable he wouldn’t compete for $70,000 he reportedly asked for $500,000. UFC brass was willing to give him a 6 bout extension that added up to a $500,000 but that was not to his liking. Whittaker likely won’t be on the card after all. He was displeased by the fact that UFC and Costa couldn’t find a common ground.