Paulo Costa Finally Receives USADA Suspension

Stephen R. Sylvanie for USA TODAY Sports
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The long, winding case between UFC middleweight Paulo Costa and USADA finally has some clarity.

USADA announced on their official website today that Costa had received and accepted a six-month suspension for using an IV prior to his UFC 212 win over Oluwale Bamgbose. He also apparently used one before his UFC 217 win over Johny Hendricks in November 2017:

“USADA announced today that UFC Athlete Paulo Costa and one of his Athlete Support Personnel, Carlos Costa, of Contagem, Brazil, have each accepted a six-month sanction for violations of the UFC® Anti-Doping Policy for use and administration, respectively, of a prohibited method.

“Based on video and other corroborating evidence, USADA determined that on June 2, 2017, Paulo Costa, 27, received an intravenous infusion (IV) of permitted substances, including saline solution and a stomach medication, of more than 100 mL per 12-hour period after weigh-in for UFC 212 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, without a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE). On November 3, 2017, Paulo Costa again received an IV infusion of permitted substances of more than 100 mL per 12-hour period after weigh-in for UFC 217 in New York City, New York, without a TUE.

“Both infusions were administered by Carlos Costa.”

Retroactive Ban For Paulo Costa

USADA explained why IVs are currently banned under their anti-doping program with the UFC. They also noted that Costa’s six-month suspension was retroactive to August 2018 and had been shortened because he provided them assistance:

“IV infusions or injections are included on the WADA Prohibited List because they can be used to enhance performance by increasing plasma volume levels; to mask the use of a prohibited substance; and to distort the values of an Athlete Biological Passport. USADA has additional information regarding IV infusions available here. The evidence in this case corroborated Paulo Costa’s explanation that the purpose of his over-the-limit infusions was to recover from the effects of weight cutting prior to UFC 212 and UFC 217, not to mask the use of a prohibited substance.

“Paulo Costa’s and Carlos Costa’s six-month periods of ineligibility began on August 10, 2018, the date Paulo Costa acknowledged receipt of these intravenous infusions. Both sanctions were reduced based on substantial assistance the Costas provided to USADA.”

The statement also clarified that the Comissão Atlética Brasileira de MMA (CABMMA) and the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) had both fined Costa 1/3 of his fight purse for his respective fights:

“Paulo Costa’s use of a prohibited method on June 2, 2017 also falls under the jurisdiction of the Comissão Atlética Brasileira de MMA (CABMMA), which has recognized USADA’s sanction and will additionally fine Paulo $4,000 (1/3 of the UFC 212 purse), all of which will revert to his opponent in UFC 212. In addition, the New York State Athletic Commission has resolved Paulo Costa’s case arising from the November 3, 2017, IV with no period of ineligibility and a $9,333.33 fine (1/3 of the UFC 217 purse). Neither Commission will impose any additional sanction on Carlos Costa.

“Under the rules, any decision concerning competition results is handled by the relevant Commissions and UFC.”

Costa was recently offered a fight with Yoel Romero at this weekend’s UFC Ft. Lauderdale. This issue prevented him from fighting at the card, however. Jacare Souza replaced him before Romero pulled out with his own illness. Souza will now face Jack Hermansson in the main event.

As for Costa, he is currently eligible to compete after his retroactive suspension expired in February.