Paulo Costa is still open to facing Robert Whittaker after their UFC 284 fight fell through - but only if the promotion pays him $500,000.
Costa was scheduled to meet Whittaker on the upcoming pay-per-view event in Perth on February 12, despite the Brazilian insisting he never signed a contract for the fight. 'Borrachinha' has been vocal about his pay issues with UFC since last year and claimed the promotion was guaranteeing him just $70,000 to fight Whittaker.
"I said I want new terms to fight Whittaker," Costa said on The MMA Hour. "I will not fight for the same money. The people from Australia will be there and it’s a great fight. So [$70,000] is not enough for that. Just go a little bit higher, and they said, ‘we need to make a new six-fight deal’. I’m talking about that one to fight Whittaker, not six more. It doesn’t make sense to me."
Modern-day UFC contracts cannot exceed a length of five years due to a 'sunset clause' inserted in the deals. Costa signed his deal with the promotion in March 2017, so he will be free to leave the UFC in just four months regardless of whether he competes in another fight.
Costa revealed the UFC offered him a new contract worth $500,000 for six fights, but he wants that sum for just a fight with Whittaker. "They offered me a new contract for $500,000 for six fights; I would fight Whittaker for that. If you sell a good way and bring a good fight, why not. For what my payment is right now, [I would fight] an unranked guy or lower-ranked guy.
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Costa said that part of Brazilian fighting culture is to not get caught up in the financial details and fight whatever opponent is offered by a promotion, but insists this is not good for fighters in the long-term. "We are doing that for a long time, but it doesn’t help the business for the athletes. This is horrible for the business on the fighter’s side. So you cannot just say yes. Somebody said, ‘If you are good at something, don’t do it for free or for s*** money’. I did a lot in the past, and it’s enough," he added.
Adamant that he will not be fighting on February 12 as it's too close to the event for him to complete a proper training camp, Costa finds himself in a position where he could now sit out and wait for his UFC contract to expire. The former middleweight title challenger was last in action against Luke Rockhold at UFC 278 in August.