Paulo Costa and coach suspended by USADA for unauthorized IV use at two events

April 26, 2019

UFC middleweight Paulo Costa and one of his coaches have each received a six-month suspension from USADA after unauthorized use of an IV to administer fluids at two of his most recent fights.

USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) made the announcement on Friday. USADA oversees the UFC’s anti-doping policy and ultimately decided on the six month ban that actually started on August 10, 2018, which means Costa and his coach have already served their sentences.

“Paulo Costa and one of his athlete support personnel, Carlos Costa, of Contagem, Brazil, have each accepted a six-month sanction for violations of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy for use and administration, respectively, of a prohibited method,” USADA officials wrote in a statement.

“Based on video and other corroborating evidence, USADA determined that on June 2, 2017, Paulo Costa, 27, received an intravenous infusion (IV) of permitted substances, including saline solution and a stomach medication, of more than 100 mL per 12-hour period after weigh-in for UFC 212 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, without a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE). On November 3, 2017, Paulo Costa again received an IV infusion of permitted substances of more than 100 mL per 12-hour period after weigh-in for UFC 217 in New York City, New York, without a TUE.”

According to USADA, Costa used both IV’s to help him recover after rigorous weight cuts ahead of his fights at both UFC 212 and UFC 217.

Under the guidelines of USADA’s rules, Costa violated the UFC anti-doping policy on both occasions. In 2017, IV infusions and/or injections of over 50mL per a six-hour period were not allowed outside of being administered by a “hospital admissions, surgical procedures, or clinical investigations”. In 2018, the rules changed to say IV infusions and/or injections of more than 100mL in a 12 hour period were not allowed unless administered “hospital admissions, surgical procedures, or clinical investigations”.

Otherwise any other IV’s administered required a therapeutic use exemption from USADA.

Costa did not receive that in either instance where he used an IV.

“The evidence in this case corroborated Paulo Costa’s explanation that the purpose of his over-the-limit infusions was to recover from the effects of weight cutting prior to UFC 212 and UFC 217, not to mask the use of a prohibited substance,” USADA officials stated.

“Paulo Costa’s and Carlos Costa’s six-month periods of ineligibility began on August 10, 2018, the date Paulo Costa acknowledged receipt of these intravenous infusions. Both sanctions were reduced based on substantial assistance the Costas provided to USADA.”

In addition to the sanctions handed down by USADA, Costa was also subject to potential punishments from the Brazilian mixed martial arts commission (CABMMA) as well as the New York State Athletic Commission where his fights took place at UFC 212 and UFC 217 respectively.

Ultimately, CABMMA recognized USADA’s suspension and added an additional fine of $4,000, which will all revert to his opponent, Oluwale Bamgbose. Meanwhile, the New York State Athletic Commission issued no additional suspension but did fine Costa $9333.33 (one third of his purse for UFC 217).

Because Costa’s suspension actually started last August, he is already eligible to return to action in the UFC.