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Coach: Paulo Costa ‘hasn’t fully recovered’ after COVID-19 infection

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Paulo Costa (pictured) won’t fight former UFC champion Robert Whittaker on April 17
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

More details have emerged from the health issues that forced Paulo Costa to withdraw from an April 17 UFC main event bout with Robert Whittaker.

Multiple people with knowledge of the situation told MMA Fighting on Monday night that “Borrachinha” 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.

“We just want to postpone [the fight] a week or two so ‘Borrachinha’ can recover,” Carlos Costa told MMA Fighting on Tuesday. “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].”

According to Carlos, the former UFC middleweight title contender tested positive for COVID-19 “a month ago,” as well as his girlfriend and mother. Carlos and his wife were also infected by the virus, he said.

“[Paulo’s] symptoms were moderate,” Carlos said. “But there’s an issue: He never stopped training. He continued training. He 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.”

The UFC has yet to announce a decision regarding Whittaker’s next move, but Costa’s team hopes to re-book the middleweight showdown for May 1 or May 8.

Costa is looking to bounce back to the win column after a September loss to 185-pound champion Israel Adesanya in Abu Dhabi. He continues to post workout videos on his social media accounts. According to his brother, “We’re training, but way lightly.”