Move over Dengue Fever.* Paulo Costa has an explanation for what happened in his loss to Israel Adesanya at UFC 253: a lot of wine.
No, it wasn’t all the subtle movement from Adesanya masking whether or was shifting between offense or defense, or his jab, or Costa’s inability to attack laterally. Nope. It was wine. That’s according to Costa himself (transcription via MMA Fighting).
“I was kind of drunk [when] I fought, maybe, on hangover. I couldn’t sleep because of the [leg] cramps. Keep in mind that the fight happens at 9 a.m. [local time], we have to wake up at 5 to get ready, stretch, wrap the hands. The UFC told us to wake up at 5 in the morning to go to the arena to fight. I hadn’t slept until 2:30.”
So wine with a side of no sleep.
“It was my mistake and I don’t blame anyone else, it was something I chose [to do], but, in order to try to sleep, because I had to sleep since I was awake for 24 hours, I had wine, too much wine, a bottle [of wine] to try to black out. I had a glass and didn’t work. Two glasses, it didn’t work. Half bottle, didn’t work. I had it all.”
I don’t meant to make light of tends to be a legitimately taxing experience for fighters as they exhaust their bodies even before the fight. But given Costa’s history with logic, it’s hard to give him the benefit of the doubt as these comments being anything other than excuse-making. Throughout the video he oscillates between documenting potentially very real physical hardships, and the ole’ He Won Because I Lost chestnut.
“The right thing would have been not fighting the way I was, because I was different. I was different because I was in horrible conditions. I didn’t sleep, I had leg cramps all the time, before walking out to the octagon, in the lockerroom. There are many things we can say, but won’t be the case for this video. But the athletic commission came to the lockerroom twice to check my leg, to remove the oil we had on it to have a massage. But, I’ll say it again, I was very confident. I wanted to fight, I thought I could do it. I just think the strategy was wrong, to not attack him.”
So Costa’s strategy, preparation, and execution were all wrong? Got it.
*I know Ricardo Arona’s bouts and constant fight cancellations due to Dengue Fever have become a part of MMA humor lore, but not only is it quite serious, but it’s coming to a neighborhood near you (sort of).