UFC middleweight Paulo Costa was questioned by police in his hometown of Contagem, Brazil, after allegedly hitting a nurse with his elbow over a vaccination certificate for COVID-19 on Monday, multiple local news outlets reported Tuesday morning.
Speaking to local radio Itatiaia, the nurse said Costa showed up at the vaccination station and walked around for a few minutes before saying he had already been vaccinated when asked for proof of vaccination. When Costa decided to leave the place “and saw I was after him,” the nurse said, “he threw an elbow that hit my mouth.”
According to reports, Costa told a security guard he had been vaccinated, but the nurse refused to give him the vaccination card and held him by the arm. Costa allegedly told the security guard he tried to free himself and accidentally hit the nurse.
The Civil Police of Minas Gerais released a statement to MMA Fighting on Tuesday.
“The suspect, aged 31, and the victim, aged 26, were taken to the Contagem precinct, where they were heard by the police authority, which requested the forensic examination," the statement read. "At the time, the woman expressed interest in pressing criminal charges against the fighter, and the Civil Police wrote a Circumstantiated Term of Occurrence (TCO), in which both sides agreed to appear in a hearing before the Special Criminal Court of the municipality.”
MMA Fighting reached out to Costa and members of his team, but they did not respond to a request for comment. “Borrachinha” posted on social media he’s “not guilty”.
Call the fuck police ♀️ pic.twitter.com/2DjfycQTXs— Paulo Costa ( Borrachinha ) (@BorrachinhaMMA) May 31, 2022
not guilty— Paulo Costa ( Borrachinha ) (@BorrachinhaMMA) May 31, 2022
Lol I haven’t— Paulo Costa ( Borrachinha ) (@BorrachinhaMMA) May 31, 2022
Costa released a statement via his social media on Wednesday.
Back in 2021, Costa said he saw no reason to get vaccinated since he already had been infected twice by COVID-19 and didn’t know the mid- to long-term effects caused by the vaccine. Costa (13-2) is currently slated to face former champion Luke Rockhold at UFC 278 on Aug. 20, likely in Salt Lake City.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requires non-U.S. citizen “to show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before you travel by air to the U.S. from a foreign country” and “show a negative result of a COVID-19 viral test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board a flight to the United States.” The CDC does not consider a person that has recovered from COVID-19 to be allowed to travel to the U.S. In this case, Costa would have to be fully vaccinated 14 days before boarding his flight.
Brazil currently has 166 million people fully vaccinated for COVID-19, which represents 78.1 percent of the population. Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, the country has seen 666,568 deaths as of Monday, 61,549 of those in Costa’s home state of Minas Gerais.