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Paulo Costa ‘never stopped training’ with COVID-19, led to ‘severe flu’

UFC middleweight Paulo Costa has not stopped training with COVID-19, worsening his symptoms.

Paulo Costa after being defeated by Israel Adesanya at UFC 253
Paulo Costa after being defeated by Israel Adesanya at UFC 253

Paulo Costa has not fully recovered from COVID-19 after continuing to train whilst having the virus.

Costa’s brother and coach, Carlos Costa, revealed details of his experience with COVID when speaking to MMA Fighting. ‘Borrachinha’ was forced to pull-out of his April 17 fight with Robert Whittaker earlier this week, due to a “severe flu.”

“We just want to postpone [the fight] a week or two so ‘Borrachinha’ can recover,” Carlos said. “He had COVID and then had the flu, and the flu is taking a long time to go away. We just want to postpone [the fight].”

Kelvin Gastelum has since taken Costa’s place to fight Whittaker next month. Costa was hoping to get back in the win column on April 17 after suffering the first loss of his career to Israel Adesanya at UFC 253 last September.

“[Paulo’s] symptoms were moderate,” Carlos said. “But there’s an issue: He never stopped training. He continued training. He hasn’t fully recovered since then.

“He had a sore throat, and then a huge secretion in the chest. His physical conditioning dropped a little bit, and then a few weeks ago he had this severe flu. We’ll get [a] chest X-ray and other exams done to see if COVID has affected anything.”

Costa’s case marks striking similarities to Khamzat Chimaev’s experience with COVID. Dana White said Chimaev ignored doctors’ orders to rest and continued to train whilst having coronavirus. Initially suggesting he would retire, White and Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov downplayed Chimaev’s claims.