Paulo Costa’s aborted bout with Yoel Romero was not because of Costa testing positive for a banned substance, as Romero had initially claimed.
Romero and Costa were initially expected to meet in the UFC on ESPN 3 main event on April 27 in Florida. The bout was cancelled a short time after it became public, and then Romero was rebooked to headline the card in a rematch with Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza.
Romero said on Monday during an interview with ESPN that he believed the bout with Costa was nixed after Costa tested positive to a banned substance. A short time after the live interview, Romero tried to reign in his comments, telling ESPN that he had only heard that Costa had tested positive, not that he knew it for a fact.
Costa’s manager, former fighter Walid Ismail, later told MMAJunkie in no uncertain terms that Costa had not tested positive for anything, though he declined to provide any further explanation as to why the bout with Romero had been cancelled.
“He didn’t test positive for anything – that’s it for now,” Ismail said on Tuesday.
In an interview with Brazilian outlet Tatame, Costa also denied having failed a drug test, saying, “I’m the Brazilian UFC fighter who gets tested the most by USADA. I never failed (a drug test), and I didn’t this time.”
Costa also indicated that the reasoning behind the cancellation would be revealed in due time, but also declined to offer any further explanation at this time.
Though he currently sits at No. 7 in the official UFC middleweight rankings, Costa sports a spotless 12-0 record. He is 4-0 under the UFC banner having knocked out all of his opponents in the Octagon. Costa last fought at UFC 226 last July, where he TKO’d Uriah Hall midway through the second round.