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.”