On Saturday night, Israel Adesanya will defend his UFC middleweight title against Yoel Romero at UFC 248. But it wasn’t always supposed to be that way. Originally, Adesanya was supposed to face top contender Paulo Costa, who had just won a controversial decision over Romero. Unfortunately, “Borrachinha” suffered a bicep injury that has sidelined him for several months, and instead of waiting for Costa to heal, Adesanya opted to face Romero next instead. It was a decision that Costa argued strongly against when it was being discussed, and apparently, one that he also tried to stop with a bit of trickery.
According to UFC President Dana White, who spoke to gathered media ahead of UFC 248 this week (video from Las Vegas Review-Journal, quotes from MMAMania), at one point Costa attempted to use a fake doctor to provide medical clearance so he could take the fight against Adesanya instead of Romero.
“I respect him and I respect the fact he wants to fight,” White said. “‘I’m ready, I’m ready.’ No, you’re not. You’re not a doctor. And then he got some guy who’s his buddy or something to say he’s okay. No, that’s not how this works. I don’t want to push him and make him hurt himself again. Take your time, you’re getting the fight, that fight is gonna happen, don’t worry about it.”
Costa is still ostensibly recovering from his bicep injury and surgery but will be sitting cageside for UFC 248, where he is expected to call out the main event winner. When that fight would happen is still undetermined but White says they’re not looking to rush into anything after this weekend because Costa is still not 100 percent.
“He’s close, but let’s take our time,” White said. “The more time the better with that injury. Then he starts throwing up videos of himself hitting the mitts and doing all this crazy sh*t that he probably shouldn’t be doing right now. But he’s a freak athlete too, so who knows. I just don’t want the guy to get hurt again.”
Costa originally projected to be ready to fight again by April but the severity of a torn bicep would normally suggest a longer recovery time. Costa also has had a spotty injury history in recent years, being forced out of fights with Romero and Uriah Hall due to injury, the latter of which was a bicep injury that seems to have been the genesis of the one currently keeping Costa on the shelf. But considering Costa is the clear-cut No. 1 contender after Saturday, he shouldn’t need to enlist the help of any fake doctors next time.
145. Amanda Nunes defends her featherweight title against Felicia Spencer at UFC 250.
Head butt. Joseph Benavidez believes ‘head butt was the finishing blow,’ wants rematch with Deiveson Figueiredo.
Trilogy. Daniel Cormier knows Jon Jones’ rivalry will never be finished but only wants Stipe Miocic for final fight.
Rematch. Ion Cutelaba vs. Magomed Ankalaev re-booked for UFC 249 following controversial stoppage.
Injuries. Paul Felder reveals extent of injuries from main event clash with Dan Hooker.
Israel Adesanya extended interview.
Media Day staredowns.
Top finishes of Third-Round Romero.
Adesanya All Access.
Anatomy of a Fighter.
Fights Gone By. Previewing UFC 248 and the two title fighters therein.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
MMA’s Chris Eubank is the man.
Only @YoelRomeroMMA could be this terrifying and inspirational at the same time #UFC248 (via @Phil_Sports) pic.twitter.com/6E0SRIEscD— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) March 6, 2020
Allegedly— Dan Hangman Hooker (@danthehangman) March 6, 2020
Welp, he fully leaned into the Disco Stu look https://t.co/QRJV2Rh8uJ— Angela Hill (@AngieOverkill) March 6, 2020
I wanna tell every single person on this planet that.... Raegan Ann Nunes will be here mid September! I cannot wait to see her. ❤️ Gente deixa eu dividir minha felicidade com vocês contando os dias para setembro. Raegan Ann Nunes @NinaAnsaroff pic.twitter.com/MyK6XZ0N2v— Amanda Nunes (@Amanda_Leoa) March 5, 2020
Unfortunately I will not be able to compete in New York for UFC 249. I was struck by another pneumothorax during training. Impossible for me to be at 100% by April 18. Don't worry, everything is fine! I will take this time off to recover and return at my best! @mmafactory_fr pic.twitter.com/kIpoLZtZoS— Ciryl Gane (@ciryl_gane) March 5, 2020
Khabib getting ready.
Props to @dc_mma, for doing all of the little things to insure he’s been compliant over 14 years of USADA testing and 84 tests (50 under UFC program). As he noted today, this is a stamp of approval on an already storied career, that he did it the right way. #leader #RoleModel pic.twitter.com/vBGdqGiASh— Jeff Novitzky (@JeffNovitzkyUFC) March 5, 2020
Davi Ramos (10-3) vs. Arman Tsarukyan (14-2); UFC Portland, April 11.
Ion Cutelaba (15-5) vs. Magomed Ankalaev (13-1); UFC 249, April 18.
Amanda Nunes (19-4) vs. Felicia Spencer (8-1); UFC 250, May 9.
Thanks for reading. This weekend should be a great time. Two live underdogs in the main and co-main. Won’t even pretend I’m not openly rooting for Yoel. I love Izzy but Yoel deserves to hold the gold he was denied when Bisping refused to fight him. Dude is unbelievable. So rarely do the good outcomes happen in MMA so we’re probably in store for the true start of the Izzy era and that’s not a bad consolation prize.
See y’all on Monday.
Who wins this weekend?
This poll is closed
If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @JedKMeshew on Twitter and let him know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram, add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting, and like us on Facebook.