Paulo Costa has said his proposed fight with Robert Whittaker was announced by the UFC before contract talks had even begun.
In October, a middleweight clash between Costa and Whittaker was advertised for UFC 284 next February, but the Brazilian confirmed this week that the bout will not go ahead.
According to Costa, 31, the fight was announced after he told matchmakers that he would be happy to fight Whittaker, but before any contract had been signed. The contest would have taken place in Whittaker’s home country of Australia, on the undercard of Alexander Volkanovski vs Islam Makhachev in Perth.
“I just came in and said the truth,” Costa said on The MMA Hour on Wednesday (21 December). “It’s a fake. It’s not happening.
“I said, ‘Of course I can fight him,’ but now let’s go to the terms. Just this happened, we didn’t keep moving after that, they didn’t send a contract or terms or nothing. They just said, ‘If you want to fight Whittaker, let’s do that fight.’
“But I cannot fight the No 1 or No 2 guy, high-level guy like Whittaker, for the same money that I’m getting since 2017. Pay fair money.
“I got $35,000 to fight Marvin Vettori [in October 2021], who was No 1 at that time. That’s bulls*** money. I did a lot of that for the UFC.
“I fought Yoel Romero on the same terms, I fought [Israel] Adesanya [for the title], I fought Marvin, and I fought Luke Rockhold on the same terms just to finish that contract, because I want to be free from that mistake that I did with my old manager five years ago.”
Costa said the UFC then offered him a six-fight deal worth $500,000 ($83,300 per fight), but that he did not want to commit to such a long-term contract.
Costa last fought in August, outpointing former champion Rockhold to improve his record to 14-2.