A previously announced middleweight match-up that had fans in a frenzy is reportedly off the UFC 284 card.
While promotion officials previously announced Robert Whittaker vs. Paulo Costa for the February Pay-Per-View card in Perth, Australia, a report by ESPN suggests its not happening. That’s backed by comments from Costa himself, who appears to be the latest fighter embroiled in a contract dispute with the organization.
“Great fights is going down due to lack of negotiation skills, they should stop being petty,” Costa wrote in response to the news on Monday.
The Brazilian has been open about being on the last fight of his current contract, as well as his overall dissatisfaction with the promotion at the moment. He followed up his initial statement with a second, briefer comment: “I wasn’t bluffing.”
I wasn't bluffing 🙌
— Paulo Costa ( Borrachinha ) (@BorrachinhaMMA) December 19, 2022
As noted by ESPN, the UFC’s official broadcast partner in the U.S., the bout is still listed on the official fight card for UFC 284. But it seems the match-up is circling the drain just two months out from the event.
Costa is coming off a win against Luke Rockhold at UFC 278 in August that saw him upset over his pay, as well as an early-morning visit by USADA while cutting weight. The latter was something UFC President Dana White vowed would never happen again.
As it stands, UFC 284 is set to be headlined by Alexander Volkanovski moving up to lightweight to challenge for a second title. The featherweight champion will take on newly crowned 155lb title holder Islam Makhachev.
An interim featherweight title fight also features, as with Volkanovski moving up, Yair Rodriguez and Josh Emmett are set to throw down.
The event takes place on February 11, 2023 in Perth, Australia at the RAC Arena. The card is the UFC’s first in Australia since prior to the coronavirus pandemic setting in, with their last visit coming in Melbourne in October of 2019.