UFC Title Contender Breaks Silence After Being Accused of Striking Nurse

paulo costa elbow nurse video message

Getty UFC star Paulo Costa.

Former UFC Middleweight title contender Paulo Costa posted a new video responding to accusations he elbowed a nurse in the mouth at a clinic in Brazil, denying any “physical aggression” and issuing a veiled threat of legal action if she doesn’t apologize publicly for accusing him.

In late May, Costa was questioned by the Brazilian Civil Police of Minas Gerais after the unnamed nurse reported that he hit her in the mouth, causing an injury, while trying to take a COVID-19 vaccination card from the clinic without actually getting the vaccine. The incident at a vaccination clinic in a shopping mall in Belo Horizonte was first reported by Globo.com. The Brazilian news site reported that Costa initially asked for a shot but then changed his mind but still wanted a card showing he was vaccinated.

Costa has denied any wrongdoing but has not specifically addressed the accusations that he was trying to get a vaccination card without getting a shot during the May 30 incident. Costa is set to fight former UFC Middleweight champion Luke Rockhold on August 20. Current U.S. travel guidelines require any non-citizen to be vaccinated before coming to the states.

Costa has been posting memes and jokes about the incident for several days, but took a break from the comedic responses for a serious message, writing on Instagram, “Clearly, there’s never been any physical aggression from me. This video leaves no doubts about it. Thank you all and together let’s keep going on!” In the video, Costa said, “Unfortunately, this is not a kind of a funny video, but it’s very important to be here and speak in English.”

Costa Shared Photos of the Nurse’s Lips, Saying They Are Evidence That He Didn’t Cause Any Injuries

In his video, Costa said, “A false accusation physical aggression was leveled against me. And I will show for you guys the facts, the proofs. I’ve being accused to elbowing a woman who is supposed to be a nurse on her face. I’m a professional MMA artist and you can imagine the damage my elbow may cause on unprotected women’s face. Something terrible to even imagine that.”

Costa added, “But I’m here just to say for everyone that never happened and I will show you guys why, I have a proof of that.” Costa then shared a photo taken by police of the nurse’s mouth. In the photo she’s pointing to her lips. Costa said, “Can you see this is the supposed victim of my elbow.” He then shared a second photo where she is pulling her lip down.

Costa said the photos, “unquestionably” show “she hasn’t been subjected to any form of physical violence. That’s impossible. … Any form of violence against women is completely unacceptable.” He said “misleading” accusations “simply serve to discredit and hide the actual battle against women’s violence. We all know this kind of false allegations is very serious. So I really hope that this woman decides to make her public apologies or else legal actions may be necessary, unfortunately.

A police spokesman told Globo.com, in Portuguese, “The card was filled out. The workers said that, at the time of application, he did not accept to be vaccinated, he wanted to leave with the card and they did not accept it. At that moment, a nurse was elbowed.” The spokesman added, “He said he got the vaccine, but the nurses didn’t let him go out with the card. He said it generated stress, he took the card and left. At that moment, a nurse grabbed him by the arm and he broke free.”

The nurse told police her lips were swollen, according to the Brazilian news site. Globo.com added that there were no cameras in the room where the incident occurred. Costa, 31, was taken to a local police station and questioned and then released, police said. Globo.com reports the 26-year-old victim, who has not issued a public statement, filed a criminal complaint that will be investigated. A hearing is scheduled in a local court, Globo.com reports.

Costa’s attorneys, Meijon Advocacia, previously issued a statement addressing the accusations. Costa shared the statement on Instagram. They wrote, “First, tending to sensationalism, these are reckless and inconsistent. The athlete Paulo Costa – ‘Borrachinha’ and his entire team reject any type of violence.”

The statement added, “‘Borrachinha’ is a high-performance professional athlete, full time dedicated to training, to following the rules, guidelines and disciplines. According to his philosophy and human conduct this kind of allegations are completely incompatible with his history and way of life. The accusations and facts narrated do not reflect the reality of what happened. The fact will be carefully investigated and the appropriate legal measures for their perfect clarification will be taken.”

Costa Has Been Posting Jokes About the Accusations, Including Taking a Shot at His Future UFC Opponent’s Chin

While Costa struck a serious tone in his English-language response video, he has posted several memes and jokes about the incident on social media in the days since it was first reported. Costa is known for his comedic attempts on Instagram and Twitter.

“Borrachinha” has also used the news about the incident to promote his upcoming fight with Rockhold, who has knocked out in three of his last four fights. Costa wrote on Twitter about his 37-year-old future opponent, “Rumors say the nurse has a best chin than luke rockhold.” Another tweet shows a blurred image of a woman with the words, “I have better chin than Rockhold.”

Costa also posted a photo of a woman in an adult-themed nurse costume and wrote, “We all here loves the nurse woman’s.” And he tweeted, “#freePaulo,” and joked that he had been trying to call Saul Goodman, the Bob Odenkirk lawyer character from “Better Call Saul” and “Breaking Bad.”

Costa and Rockhold were initially expected to square off at UFC 277 in Las Vegas on July 30, but the fight was moved off the PPV card and to an August 20 Fight Night card, according to MMAJunkie. The location of that event hasn’t been released yet.

Costa, 13-2, is the No. 4-ranked middleweight in the UFC. He’s looking for his first win since 2019, when he beat Yoel Romero at UFC 241 in 2019. He lost his UFC Middleweight Title shot against Israel Adesanya at UFC 253 in 2020 and then lost to Marvin Vettori in October 2021.