As a guest on The MMA Show on ESPN today, Yoel Romero may have said something he shouldn’t have. The middleweight standout had been originally booked to meet Paulo Costa in the main event of a UFC show in Miami in April. Suddenly the opponent was changed with no explanation, and Romero now meets Jacare Souza in a rematch on the card. Nothing was announced injury-wise in regards to Costa, so what happened?
According to Romero, it was due to a USADA issue. Well, that’s what he said at first anyway.
“What I hear is Paulo Costa, he had a positive test for USADA. That’s what happened. That’s what I heard. The UFC called my manager and said Paulo Costa is out because he is positive and they said, Jacare Souza?’ I said OK.”
After the show ended though, it seems that Romero wanted to walk that back. He called Ariel Helwani again, who relayed what Romero wanted to clarify via social media:
Re: the Paulo Costa story, Yoel Romero called me immediately after the show to clarify that he had only heard that Paulo Costa failed a USADA drug test but he is not sure if that is accurate at this time. He said he would never want to accuse anyone before the facts come out.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) March 11, 2019
Costa has not had anything to say on Romero’s particular comments as of yet, but in a separate interview with Tatame before the Romero interview, “Borrachinha” did make a statement in regards to general questioning of his drug testing history (translation via MMA Junkie):
“I’m the Brazilian UFC fighter who gets tested the most by USADA – I never failed (a doping test) and I didn’t this time,” Costa said. “I don’t need doping to get all the good results I’ve been getting and to be regarded as the new Brazilian star in the sport, like I am. I don’t need these things.”
He wouldn’t explain why he was removed from the card, but said it would come to light soon.
“I’d rather keep this quiet, wait for the UFC to say what happened, and then everyone will know better, including me.”
Bloody Elbow has reached out to USADA for comment on the issue at hand.
UFC on ESPN 3 goes down April 22nd in Miami with the Romero-Jacare rematch on top.