He might be a knockout artist and an exciting brawler in the Octagon, but that does not mean that UFC middleweight contender Paulo Costa does not worry about the brain damage that comes with being a professional MMA fighter.
At 28 years of age, ‘Borrachinha’ is actually very concerned about what condition he wil be in once he hangs up his gloves, which he intends to do in just about eight years, hoping he will have fulfilled all his goals in the Octagon by then.
In an interview with Ag Fight, Costa explains how brain damage symptoms tend to become worse with age, so he expects to call it a career by the time he is 36, and then, after he is dead, donate his brain for research in order to tackle the problem in the future.
“We know that the brain is made of cells that don’t regenerate anymore, we can only lose them. As you age, that amount of cells decreases, so your reflexes become slower, your speech becomes worse, you forget things. I do some research some times. There is Rose, from the Gracie family, she runs a brain donation campaign, for fighters, there’s a whole field of research about that. I want to make my career as soon as possible, conquer everything, then I don’t want to fight after I’m 36. I would gladly give them my brain.”
Although there is not much you can do completely avoid being struck in the head in an MMA fight or during a sparring session, Borrachinha points how there are ways to minimize that damage, which already goes a long way in preventing that damage from becoming much worse.
“That’s a pretty serious issue, because we don’t have the data to find out how much that can affect each of us. Each one will have different symptoms and will react different to that amount of strikes, What you can do is fight in a way that minimizes those blows to the head. During a training session, you can wear protective gear, like helmets. That can really minimize the damage. I wear big gloves, I never spar in MMA gloves, I always wear 16-ounce gloves, so I can avoid strikes to the head.”
In his last outing, Paulo Costa (13-0) bested top contender Yoel Romero via unanimous decision, back in August 2019. The win put the 28-year-old in a five-fight winning streak in the Octagon, with wins over Garreth McLellan, Oluwale Bamgbose, Johny Hendricks and Uriah Hall before beating the ‘Soldier of God’.