UFC has put the curtain on Robert Whittaker vs Paulo Costa. Initially set to take place at UFC 284, the bout would have marked Whittaker‘s return to the Octagon following his unanimous decision win over Marvin Vettori. Meanwhile, Costa would have stepped inside the cage after his win over Luke Rockhold.
Reports started doing rounds last night after Costa took to Twitter and claimed that the promotion is using Whittaker’s name to sell tickets for UFC 284. Immediately after the fight was announced, Costa claimed that he had not signed the contract with the UFC, however, received very little attention from the fight fans owing to his social media antics.
— Robert Whittaker (@robwhittakermma) December 19, 2022
Whittaker took to social media to react to the reports and confirmed that he won’t be fighting at UFC 284. “The fight with Costa has fallen apart. UFC tried everything in their power to get him too the fight. They gave him the new contract to take the fight and he still didn’t take the fight.” Whittaker said.
“I’m upset. I was prepared to train through Christmas, to train through New Year. To put in the work, I am already so deep into my camp.” He further added.
The former middleweight champion claimed that the promotion did everything in its power to make the fight happen, even offering Costa a new contract. However, it’s safe to say that both parties couldn’t come to an agreement and now the fight is officially canceled.
Is Paulo Costa leaving UFC?
In the weeks leading up to the fight cancellation, Paulo Costa was hinting towards an eventual situation where this could happen. Costa claimed that he had not signed the contract to fight Whittaker and is still undergoing negotiations with the company. He even went as far as to say, he might not even fight again in the promotion, getting a ticket out of the UFC even without competing in his last fight.
Great fights is going down due to lack of negotiation skills, they should stop being petty 👍🥤 pic.twitter.com/uAfFLnTOdN
— Paulo Costa ( Borrachinha ) (@BorrachinhaMMA) December 19, 2022
Costa has been teasing a move to boxing for quite some time now and it seems like he will try to do just that. With a lot of opportunities outside the cage, the UFC middleweight might look to try his luck outside. The fight against Whittaker would have marked Costa’s last fight with the UFC under his current contract.