Online Feud Breaks Out After Luke Rockhold Retires at UFC 278

Paulo Costa & Luke Rockhold

Getty Paulo Costa & Luke Rockhold

Middleweights went to war during the UFC 278 co-main event, and Paulo Costa left the arena in Salt Lake City with his hand raised over Luke Rockhold.

Battered, bloodied and bruised, Costa and Rockhold threw everything at each other for three rounds on Saturday night. However, Costa’s success in the grappling department helped lead him to a unanimous decision victory over the former 185-pound champion (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).

With the win, Costa snapped his two-fight losing streak and improved his professional mixed martial arts record to 14-2. Costa entered the Octagon as the No. 6-ranked middleweight per the official UFC standings and it’s unclear if he’ll move up the ladder when they update next week.

On the other end, Rockhold is now 0-3 in his last three trips to the cage. His record fell to 16-6. After the bout, Rockhold announced his retirement from the sport.

Keep reading to see some of the biggest reactions to the fight from the MMA community.

Reactions Pour In

At the end of the third frame, Rockhold ended up on top of Costa and rubbed his bloody nose all over “Borrachinha.” Watch the moment below via ESPN MMA’s tweet:

“That was wild,” “The MMA Hour” host Ariel Helwani tweeted.

“Man,” Helwani continued. “That was beautiful yet heartbreaking. God speed, Luke.”

Social media superstar Jake Paul chimed in, commenting to Helwani that the fight was “dog s***.”

Helwani called Rockhold a “legend” and Paul tweeted: “Imagine me on my knees begging for air in my fights… what would people say? Im a legend.. lol no they’d call me a YouTuber … YALL are sick and twisted with your favoritism and delusion.”

“Luke has been doing this for over a decade,” Helwani replied. “He hasn’t fought for 3+ years. He almost had his leg amputated. Broke his jaw in his last fight. This has nothing to do with you. I’ve never said that about you. If you can’t respect what that man just overcame I don’t know what to say.”

“Boo Hoo Ariel every athlete has excuses,” Paul hit back. “Does he want a binky? Fighting is the only sport where people listen to excuses.. in other sports your CUT and never talked about.. He also didn’t over come anything? He lost.. go home…”

Reactions Continued

Former two-division champion Conor McGregor tweeted: “Incredible fight!”

ESPN’s Brett Okamoto wrote: “That was beautifull weird.”

Former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos tweeted: “Was Luke trying to kiss Borrachinha at the end?”

He continued: “What a great co-main event.”

TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter wrote: “That fight delivered the violence and the weirdness.”

“That was the last fight on Costa’s deal,” he continued. “Interested to see where both of these guys go from here.”

“I got the sense between the 1st and 2nd round that Rockhold knew that this was it and that he was going to just go out on his shield and give everything that he had left in the tank,” Bronsteter tweeted.

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