Dana White has routinely praised the United States Anti-Doping Agency over the years, but he was not happy to hear about a visit it made to Paulo Costa just hours before he was set to weigh-in for his fight against Luke Rockhold at UFC 278.
The incident occurred on Friday morning as Costa was getting into the final phase of his weight cut when agents from USADA showed up to take a blood sample from the Brazilian. Costa later lashed out in anger after he hit the mark for his fight while shouting “f*** USADA” due to the intrusive timing for the drug test.
After hearing what happened, the UFC president personally apologized to Costa for the situation, adding that he’s already taken steps to ensure nobody will ever endure that again.
“I apologized to him up on stage,” White revealed at the UFC 278 post-fight press conference. “That will never happen again to any fighter.
“Listen, they don’t know about fighting the way that people who know about fighting know about fighting. You don’t go in and test a guy at six in the morning when he’s cutting weight. The result’s going to be the same a few hours later. You wait. I apologized to him on stage when he came out, and that won’t happen to another fighter again.”
White later confirmed “we have” already spoken to USADA to take necessary steps to protect random testing required under the UFC’s anti-doping program while also preventing athletes from suffering the same fate as Costa.
While he was understandably upset with the visit from USADA agents, Costa still made weight and went onto earn a unanimous decision over Rockhold in what ultimately earned Fight of the Night honors at UFC 278.
“USADA did a mistake,” Costa said. “I don’t know who sent the people but they sent two guys when I was cutting weight. ‘We need to take your blood’ and it was craziest thing I have ever seen from USADA.
“I don’t think this affected my performance or my psyche. It was just a bump on the road.”
All week long, Costa joked about a “secret juice” that has helped spur on his performances and he even carried a jug with that exact phrase on it when he sat on stage after his fight on Saturday.
Costa joked that perhaps it was the mystery juice that brought USADA agents knocking at his door on the day of the weigh-ins, but he promised there’s nothing illegal about his super secret beverage.
“I think USADA is very confused why this guy is so strong on middleweight, but the secret is here [with my juice],” Costa said with a laugh.
“If they test the juice, they will discover what is here inside, but it is 100 percent clean from USADA. I can prove this.”