Paulo Costa addresses Israel Adesanya doping claims ahead of UFC 253: It’s a scared excuse | UFC | Sport

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Paulo Costa UFC 253

Paulo Costa has responded to Israel Adesanya’s doping claims ahead of UFC 253 (Image: GETTY)

Much of the build-up to Israel Adesanya’s long-awaited showdown with Paulo Costa has centred around the topic of doping. Although many have focused solely on the fascinating stylistic match-up their UFC 253 bout will provide, fans across the world have been chiming in with their two cents on the immensely muscular physique possessed by Costa.

That has, in large part, been down to Adesanya’s firm belief the undefeated Brazilian isn’t a clean fighter, which he hasn’t been shy in vocalising over the last 18 months.

“A guy like Paula, he’s a walking punching bag. He’s juiced up, blown up and throws body shots heavy, heavy,” Adesanya said of Costa last February. “Bring that ass over here and I will test him.”

‘The Last Stylebender’ doubled down on his belief Costa has used performance-enhancing drugs earlier this month, telling First We Feast: “The dirtiest fighter in the sport? “There’s a few. Even the guy that I’m fighting next (Costa).

“Like I said, I’m going to pop him before USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) does. But he’s definitely got some extra supplements south of the border that he takes.”

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Paulo Costa UFC

Paulo Costa has been accused by Israel Adesanya of being an enhanced athlete (Image: GETTY)

This, to me, is a scared excuse

Paulo Costa on Israel Adesanya’s doping allegations

Costa, however, has never failed a drug test, nor has he tested positive for any performance-enhancing agents.

Understandably, Adesanya’s assertions that he’s a cheater have irked Costa. The 29-year-old, however, has grown accustomed to such accusations.

“The most common thing for a guy who isn’t taking his job as a fighter seriously is to accuse another guy who works very hard to get a good physique like me,” Costa told Express Sport. “It’s very common. That excuse, to me, is very stupid.

‘Borrachinha’ firmly believes the accusations of him being an enhanced athlete stem from his aesthetic physique and his ferocious fighting style.


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He said: “When you look at me, I’m strong, a very good striker, a strong striker and a power puncher who is knocking people out. And then people say, ‘This guy is so strong, he looks huge. He’s on steroids.'”

Since making his UFC debut in March 2017 against Garreth McLellan, Costa has been tested 45 times by USADA.

No adverse findings have been discovered in any of the tests administered to the former Jungle Fight middleweight champion, who insists he wouldn’t be able to dope under USADA’s strict testing protocol

“This is the most stupid thing you can say and accuse a guy who fights in the UFC, who are behind the USADA program, of” Costa added. “That program tests everybody a bunch of times. Sometimes two or three times the same week.”

Paulo Costa Israel Adesanya

Paulo Costa will challenge Israel Adesanya for the middleweight title at UFC 253 (Image: GETTY)

So what does Costa attribute Adesanya’s incessant PED allegations to? The answer to that question is simple is a simple one for ‘The Eraser’.

“It’s the most stupid excuse,” Costa said of Adesanya’s allegations against him. “This, to me, is a scared excuse.”

Although he hasn’t tested positive for any performance-enhancing drugs, Costa has twice fallen afoul of USADA rulebook.

After successfully making weight for his UFC 212 and UFC 217 clashes with Oluwale Bamgbose and Johny Hendricks, Costa received an IV with permitted substances without a therapeutic exemption.


Paulo Costa believes Israel Adesanya is making accusations about his physique because he’s scared (Image: GETTY)

The amount he received on both occasions – more than 100 mL in a 12-hour period – exceeded the threshold set by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code.

He was fined a total of £10,300 for the violations and received a six-month suspension from USADA.

Costa’s period of ineligibility would’ve been significantly longer had he not exercised the “substantial assistance” clause in the UFC’s anti-doping policy, which allows USADA to hand out reduced sentences based on athletes providing information regarding another case or a potential case.

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