UFC middleweights Paulo Costa and Marvin Vettori on Wednesday verbally agreed to a catchweight fight at 195 pounds in UFC Vegas 41’s headliner after Costa said he was 211 pounds and couldn’t make weight.
Via Zoom chat, Costa and Vettori appeared together for an interview on ESPN.com and hammered out the basic term of the move up from middleweight, the division where the bout was scheduled to take place before Costa threw a wrench in plans.
The Brazilian said it was the UFC that asked for the catchweight when he showed up on fight week heavier than usual. He challenged Vettori to “be a man” and take the fight without requiring a purse deduction, as is customary for fighters who miss weight.
“Don’t want me to be fined,” Costa said. “[By you saying], “Oh, if you don’t pay 30 percent, I will not fight.’ Be a man. Be a man of your words and show up to fight on Saturday.”
A befuddled Vettori said he would show up on Saturday night at UFC APEX and do his job.
“You’re supposed to make weight! Every fighter here is supposed to make weight,” the Italian one-time UFC title challenger said. “We have a moment, it’s called weigh-in – maybe you don’t know about it – where you’re supposed to step on the scale and be some kind of weight. We have a weight division we fight in. You act like you don’t know this part.”
“And which weight were you supposed to make on Friday? 185? I don’t care if you weigh 185, 195, 205…your choice,” Costa replied. “It’s up to you.”
Costa appeared unwilling to concede his role in the situation despite the fight’s scheduled weight class. Vettori said he spent two months slimming down in preparation to make weight and indicated his opponent was unprofessional for coming in heavy.
That said, Vettori didn’t back away from the fight, saying he didn’t care and would fight a heavier Costa. But at one point, he wondered aloud whether his opponent was of sound mind.
“I feel like this guy’s drunk, bro,” Vettori said with a laugh. “You been drinking a little bit?”
“Not yet,” said Costa, who infamously blamed his UFC 263 title loss to champ Israel Adesanya on drinking a bottle of wine the night prior to the fight. “Maybe after the fight, I invite you.”
“We are working on it,” a UFC official said via test. “The fight is on and it will be a catchweight bout.”