Dana White defends “pain in the ass” Paulo Costa after withdrawing from UFC 294: “It’s legit”

By Cole Shelton - October 19, 2023

UFC CEO Dana White has defended Paulo Costa following his withdrawal from his UFC 294 fight against Khamzat Chimaev.

Dana White and Paulo Costa

Costa hadn’t fought since August of last year but was supposed to face Robert Whittaker in February in Perth. However, the Brazilian was in a contract dispute with the UFC, and the fight was scrapped. The former middleweight title challenger was then booked against Ikram Aliskerov in July, but that fight also never came to fruition.

Paulo Costa was finally booked to fight Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 294 on Saturday, but weeks before, it was revealed he had undergone elbow surgery for an infection which forced him to pull out. Although it was his third straight fight that he withdrew from, Dana White said this reason was legit and defended Costa for pulling out of the bout.

“Listen, I can say this, I know this isn’t a popular answer for him (Khamzat Chimaev) right now, but listen, Paulo Costa can be a pain in the ass no doubt about it, but he’s seriously injured,” Dana White said at the UFC 294 press conference.

RELATED: Kamaru Usman shuts down rumors of injury following open workout.

After Dana White’s comments, Khamzat Chimaev chimed in claiming Paulo Costa was faking it and ran away scared. However, the UFC CEO says that isn’t the case and Paulo Costa was truly injured as he had a nasty infection.

“He’s seriously injured and needs to get his elbow taken care of. He had a nasty staph infection. It’s legit. If it wasn’t legit, I’d be the first one to say it,” White said. “Absolutely legit that guy is seriously injured, and he needed to do what he needed to do. I know that is not a popular answer for Khamzat but it is the truth.”

Paulo Costa is currently 14-2 as a pro and coming off the win over Luke Rockhold in August of last year. Inside the Octagon, Costa is 6-2.


Dana White Paulo Costa UFC