The reason for Paulo Costa’s withdrawal from his fight against Robert Whittaker on April 17 has finally emerged.

Multiple people with knowledge of the situation told MMA Fighting on Monday night that Costa opted to withdraw from the UFC Fight Night headliner due to a severe flu, and his brother and coach Carlos Costa provided additional information on his status. (H/T

“We just want to postpone [the fight] a week or two so ‘Borrachinha’ can recover. “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].”

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Carlos Costa also said that Paulo tested positive for COVID-19 about a month ago, as well as his girlfriend and mother.

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

“He had 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.”

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The UFC has already replaced Costa with Kelvin Gastelum for the main event on April 17, so their team will have to look elsewhere for a fight.

Costa is still looking to bounce back from the first loss of his professional career in September at UFC 253 in Abu Dhabi to Israel Adesanya for the middleweight title.

He has been on record saying that he got drunk the night before that fight and was suffering from a hangover.

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Even through all this, Costa continues to post workout videos across all of his social media. According to his brother, “We’re training, but way lightly.”

Who do you think Paulo Costa should fight next after recovering from his illness?

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