Paulo Costa Unhappy with Pay, Says He Never Signed Contract to Face Jared Cannonier

By: Tristen Critchfield
Jun 5, 2021

The UFC Fight Night card on Aug. 21 has a new main event, as Kelvin Gastelum has stepped in to replace Paulo Costa and meet Jared Cannonier.

ESPN was first to report the new middleweight pairing. Shortly after news of Costa’s withdrawal came to light, the Brazilian middleweight took to Twitter to express frustration with fighter pay while claiming that he never signed a contract to face Cannonier.

“UFC needs to pay me as main fighter to have fighting in main events. Youtubers are showing all disgrace on this business,” he wrote.

“Just to be clear. I never signed or locked up that contract. Why UFC announced this fight if [it] didn’t [get] signed? My question too.”

That statement is in line with what his manager, Wallid Ismail, revealed in a recent interview with

“We are in the middle of the negotiation,” Ismail stated last month. “I cannot give details. The fact is that Paulo has helped UFC to sell 750,000 pay-per-views at UFC 253, he believes he deserves to be valued like a partner and, at least, [have] his demands heard, and I have to agree with him.”

Gastelum has lost four of his last five Octagon appearances and is coming off a decision loss to Robert Whittaker in the UFC on ESPN 22 headliner, where he stepped in as a replacement for Costa.

Cannonier had a three-bout winning streak snapped in his last outing, when he dropped a three-round verdict to Whittaker at UFC 254 this past October.

UFC Fight Night on Aug. 21 does not have an official venue or location.

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