UFC Vegas 41 went down last night with Marvin Vettori beating Paulo Costa in a light heavyweight bout. The fight was supposed to be at middleweight; the division that saw both men recently challenge for the title. However, due to Costa’s inability to make weight the fight was initially changed to a catchweight bout before being moved all the way up to 205 lbs.
Costa forfeited part of his purse to Vettori during negotiations to keep the fight alive. Now the fight is over, UFC President Dana White has claimed that Costa is done competing in the middleweight division. However, White doesn’t see any point in handing down any further punishment to the Brazilian.
White spoke about the situation at his post-fight press conference.
“I think that you know he’s getting fined 20 percent of his purse that’s going to go to Vettori and had this thing not worked out the way that it did, he’d have been on a plane to Brazil with no money,” he said (ht sportskeeda). “He’d be put back on a plane, flew back to Brazil and wouldn’t have made a dime on this fight. When you talk about prize fighters that are getting money to actually get in and perform, when they perform, he had to give up 20 percent of that, so I think that’s punishment enough plus you guys beat him up pretty good too and deservedly so. I don’t know why he came here and did what he did and acted the way that he acted. Like I said to John, he was going to tell you guys after the fight... When you talk about punishing him, like I said, he’s given up 20 percent of his purse and he came in and fought his ass off tonight.”
White doubled-down on his assessment that Costa’s entertaining, albeit losing, effort against Vettori saved him from further punishment. It’s unclear what the UFC may have done with Costa, and his future opportunities, if the fight was a dud.
“If he went in there and put on a horrible performance and you know, then maybe we could point a finger at him more. He was a nightmare to deal with this week not just for us but for you guys too but he came in and performed tonight.”
The loss versus Vettori is the second defeat of Costa’s pro career. Prior to this fight he lost to Israel Adesanya in a middleweight title fight. Before those losses, Costa was 13-0 with wins over Johny Hendricks, Uriah Hall and Yoel Romero.