Paulo Costa detailed what led to his physical altercation at UFC 294.
On Saturday, October 21, Costa was supposed to be fighting Khamzat Chimaev in the co-main event of UFC 294. Unfortunately, the Brazilian middleweight was forced to pull out with a gruesome elbow injury, leading to Kamaru Usman stepping in and losing a majority decision against Chimaev.
Although he couldn’t step into the Octagon, Costa found a way to get in a fight with what first looked like a fan at the event. ‘Borrachinha’ explained how the situation started by saying this to Ariel Helwani during a recent interview on The MMA Hour:
“When I get to the arena, I was in the hallway to take pictures with the fans…I was in the corner to go to my seat. A guy called me and when I came in front of him, he showed his [middle] finger in my face…I mocked his face because I become pissed off.”
According to “Matysek,” a popular Twitter account covering combat sports, the person involved in the altercation with Paulo Costa was Shovkhal Churchaev. The Russian is a lightweight MMA fighter with a professional record of 5-1.
— Spinnin Backfist (@SpinninBackfist) October 21, 2023
Same guy that pulled a gun on his opponent on a podcast some time ago, quite a troublemaker pic.twitter.com/OHzUnb0iMl
— Matysek (@Matysek88) October 21, 2023
Paulo Costa explains how the situation at UFC 294 turned into a physical brawl
Paulo Costa’s situation with Shovkhal Churchaev didn’t end with taunts. Following their meeting in the hallway, the tension later spilled over near their seats, leading to a viral video of the brawl.
Costa explained how the altercation turned physical during the previously mentioned interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour:
“I went to the backroom and look for him. And when I come back, I saw him, but he was not anymore in the first row. He was in the third row…I was like I need to discipline this guy before I came back to watch the fights because my mind will stay on this guy…I come back and I saw him in the third row. I say, ‘Brother, come here, please. I want to do something for you. He looked at me [surprised]. He start to come, but they are a little couple of them, a dwarf [chechen] gang.”
“When he start to fall down to jump the seats to come on to me, somebody just hold him, ‘Don’t go. Don’t go.’ Then I grab him. When I grab him, another guy tried punch me, so the security pulled me out. Then the same guy I tried to drag out, he jump in…I don’t know what he had it mind, but it was not a good idea for him because once he jumped, he land in the security. His head was in front of me, so even with my brand-new arm, I land [with a punch].”
Paulo Costa last fought in August 2022, defeating Luke Rockhold by unanimous decision. The win ended Costa’s two-fight losing streak and led to his current spot as the number six-ranked middleweight in the UFC.
Watch Paulo Costa’s latest appearance on The MMA Hour below: