Yoel Romero was quick to walk back comments he made about Paulo Costa and performance-enhancing drugs. But, the latter still plans to punish the middleweight for the role he may have played, in fueling the rumors, if and when they ever fight.
The UFC has hoped to book a bout between the middleweight contenders for some time now, and recently the promotion tried finalizing Costa vs. Romero for April 27th. Then it was reported Costa was ineligible for the fight, and there was speculation as to why that might be. Romero proceeded to tell ESPN’s Ariel Helwani that he had heard Costa had been flagged for PEDs. Then the powerful wrestler followed up to say he didn’t have any definitive knowledge as to whether that was the case.
Well, Costa’s team was quick to deny that the Brazilian fighter had been flagged. During a recent interview with Combate, (translations via MMA Junkie), Costa reported that because he didn’t disclose a medication he took for nausea, he was initially eligible to fight. By the time the issue was resolved, it was too late for Costa to make weight.
Further, while discussing the rumors Costa’s battled over PED allegations, and the role Romero may have planned in further those rumors, he said this:
“It’s bad,” Costa said. “Even though it was a false rumor, it creates that ‘smoke,’ like people say. Until people realize it’s not like that at all, maybe it gives a bad image, you get a bad image.
“But there’s nothing to say. Simply none of that happened. I never used any of these artifices, such as doping or anything like that. And USADA is there to prove that. I will hit him with more gusto. I will, for sure. Each strike will have some extra pleasure.”
And in terms of Costa’s plans for 2019? The 27-year-old said this:
“I intend to fight another two, three times this year. So there is a chance to fight for the title this year. Regardless, those at the top five will end up fighting each other. That’s inevitable. So there’s no need for – I’m not desperate or in a rush to do this title fight. We’ll end up meeting each other among the top five, it’s inevitable. Whether it’s this year, whether it’s next year, it will happen.”
So we’ll see what happens. Romero ended up withdrawing from UFC on ESPN 3 due to illness, so, theoretically, Costa and Romero could finally throw hands in the coming weeks.