It’s a dubious achievement, but since he keeps testing clean black belt Paulo “Borrachinha” Costa is making the best of it.
As 2019’s myriad sports stats are processed, the grappler turned undefeated UFC middleweight contender has found himself topping USADA’s shortlist of most targeted professional fighters. Costa was blood and urine tested for PEDs 14 times in 2019, according to Yahoo Sports. As of yet not even a picogram of banned substance has been reported.
It’s not entirely clear whether USADA has been challenging Costa’s swole body composition as aggressively as it has intentionally. The organization is known to eyeball fighters using “the small test,” aka looking at bodies and scrutinizing whether someone’s a genetic jackpot winner or getting a little help. Borrachinha is a visibly stacked middleweight, one who drew extra attention earlier this year when he tore his bicep in training. (Bicep tears are more common in PED users.)
But Costa’s own conduct may be the real issue. He was slapped by USADA for using unapproved IV’s to rehydrate before his brutal victory over now defunct MMA fighter Oluwale Bambgose back in 2017. Those IVs were just electrolytes and free fluids, not drugs, but they were still an illegal tool resulting in a six month suspension. Earlier this year his eligibility again became problematic because of the non-PED substance Plasil, or metoclopramide, a prescribed medication used commonly for nausea and migraines. Lee Park, spokesperson for USADA, said of Costa’s Plasil use that “evidence received and reviewed by the Commission conclusively showed that Mr. Costa failed to comply with Commission rules and policies regarding the use and disclosure of non-performance enhancing substances while licensed.”
Costa maintains he was just using the medication for nausea as many people in Brazil do.
Now the leading contender in the division, Costa’s most recent wins include Yoel Romero (who came in second for “Most Tested 2019”), Uriah Hall, and Johnny Hendricks.
Borrachinha overall seems pleased with his new superlative, taking to social media to promise open workouts and sharing the meal plans which have given him his apparently controversial bod: