In one of the more bizarre scenes in the history of an already unconventional sport, Luke Rockhold rubbed his bloody visage into the face of Paulo Costa in the waning moments of their UFC 278 matchup.
During the live broadcast, the applause of the crowd drowned out the UFC commentary team while Rockhold was smearing his blood onto Costa. After the fight ended, commentator Joe Rogan described the scene during the slow-motion replay, “He (Rockhold) got on top and then rubbed all his nose blood all over Paulo Costa’s face. I mean, look at that. That is just hilarious. It’s so twisted and that is so Luke Rockhold.”
Unlike Rogan, who was outside the splash zone at cageside, Costa didn’t seem to see the humor in Rockhold purposely showering him in blood.
A perplexed Costa described the moment as “disgusting” before offering his thoughts on why Rockhold would do such a thing, “I don’t know why Luke did that,” Costa said during the UFC 278 post-fight press conference. “Maybe he was so frustrated and angry because he was losing the fight. But I took a very long shower after the fight.”
On Wednesday, Rockhold explained his reasoning.
“That’s just ‘f—k you,’ said the former UFC middleweight champion during his appearance on The MMA Hour.
“You know, when someone’s point fighting and someone’s going for the kill. That’s the difference. I felt like I was there to kill or be killed and he was out there trying to get by,” added Rockhold.
Costa won the fight by decision, but there were moments Rockhold felt he could have secured a finish, but his rush to get the stoppage caused him to make critical mistakes.
“I rushed it,” said Rockhold. “I should have had that mount position, its would have been over. You know how that world works. I just rushed into that one, fell behind, kept putting myself behind and couldn’t pick myself back up. I just felt like I was in there with a lesser man and I wanted to show him, ‘you’re my bitch.’
Rockhold announced his retirement in the cage after the fight. On Tuesday, MMA Fighting confirmed Rockhold’s retirement with UFC officials.