Sean Strickland questions Paulo Costa’s actions amidst his contract dispute with the UFC.
Costa (14-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) won’t be fighting Robert Whittaker at UFC 284 after failing to come to terms with the promotion on a new deal while he has one fight left on his current contract.
Costa was last seen in action when he defeated the returning Luke Rockhold at UFC 278, which earned him Fight of the Night. But in his fight prior, Costa struggled to make the middleweight mark against Marvin Vettori, requesting the fight to take place at light heavyweight. Strickland thinks Costa’s unprofessionalism only made it harder for him to negotiate a better deal.
“Here’s the thing about Costa, and I like Costa, but he is also a f*ckhead,” Strickland told Helen Yee. “He doesn’t make weight, he’s an idiot, so it’s like, when you’re a f*ckhead and you go to the UFC and you say, ‘Hey, I want to do this’ – I almost fought Marvin Vettori on a two-day notice because his b*tch ass wouldn’t make weight. So it’s hard when you don’t do the right things, it’s hard to get the right things back.”
He continued, “You don’t act like a professional, you don’t get treated like a professional.”
Strickland (25-5 MMA, 12-5 UFC) has often labeled himself as a “prostitute” when it comes to his working relationship with the UFC. After closing out 2022’s final UFC show with a split decision loss to Jared Cannonier, Strickland will save 2023’s first headliner when he steps in for an injured Kelvin Gastelum against Nassourdine Imavov (12-3 MMA, 4-1 UFC) at Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 217 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The card streams on ESPN+.
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 217.