UFC: Is there an ulterior motive behind Paulo Costa’s massive weight miss?

It’s been a weird week for the UFC and Paulo Costa both, respectfully.

Things may get even more awkward in the coming weeks and months if (when?) it comes out that there was a deeper reason for Costa (13-1, 5-1 UFC) to have so glaringly and brazenly missed weight ahead of his clash with Marvin Vettori (17-5-1, 7-3-1 UFC) this weekend: Little about what has transpired this week makes sense on any level.

First off, ’Borrachinha’ could not have been more nonchalant about announcing there would be no way he could make the 185-pound limit days before the weigh-ins. The 30-year-old didn’t even try to offer a reason, although that could be rooted in him being eviscerated for offering up his famous ’I drank too much much wine’ excuse after his KO loss to Israel Adesanya earlier year.

However, any plausibility behind that rationale was squandered late last night when it was announced the agreed-upon weight for Saturday night’s fight had now been bumped all the way up to the 205-pound light-heavyweight limit. For years now, many have speculated that Costa is too naturally large to make middleweight, but is that the real reason this is all happening?

Hardcore UFC fans are not so sure, with some believing that Paulo Costa’s actions this week have been a calculated attempt at getting out of his contract with the promotion long before it is set to expire (he was recently just extended).

Maybe Costa is taking a look at other sports stars around the world starting a new trend of athletes making power plays to get out of their iron-clad contracts not long after signing them (like team/league owners frequently do).

Surely, Costa is noticing what Youtube stars like Logan and Jake Paul are getting paid for much less-grueling work than what the average UFC fighters go through. Witnessing former UFC stars like Tyron Woodley and Ben Askren make as much (roughly) in a single boxing match as they did during their UFC careers has to be appealing to Costa, and he has said as much on Twitter.

The most important question, however, is where does UFC boss Dana White stand on all of this?

Per MMAFighting.com, just about where you’d expect him to. In comments the brash president of the organization made to TSN after Costa bowed out of a proposed contest with #3 ranked-middleweight Jared Cannonier in June, White sounded off on how ridiculous it was for ‘The Eraser’ to be broaching the issue of his salary and contract at the present time.

And you’re in no position to be talking about crazy money after your last performance. Okay? So you either want to fight or you don’t want to fight. No problem. You don’t want to fight, you can hang out and do whatever you want. 

-Dana White on Paulo Costa via TSN

In addition, White went on to explain that UFC fighters have to be offered three fights a year to be able to be considered ‘active’. That’s where things get interesting here, as technically, Costa has been ‘offered’ three fights already this year (in addition to the cancelled bout with #1-ranked Robert Whittaker due to Costa ‘having the flu’).

Is Costa’s team trying to work some loophole that those outside the business aren’t privy to, in combination with the UFC being upset that Costa couldn’t make anywhere near the original weight for this fight? It’s at least worth considering, as Costa’s baffling behaviors this week – and all year, really – don’t line up with how he’s conducted himself in the past.

If Costa is, in fact, trying to sabotage his relationship with the UFC in hopes of getting out of his contract and into a more lucrative venture with another promotion, he’s doing a solid job of that so far.

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