UFC middleweight Paulo Costa has been accused of hitting a nurse with an elbow during a dispute over his COVID-19 vaccination card in his native Brazil.
The alleged incident took place on Monday evening at a shopping mall in the town of Contagem, according to Globo.
Health workers told police that Costa showed up to receive his COVID-19 vaccine, but before it could be administered he attempted to leave with a vaccination card.
“The card has been filled. The workers said that at the time of the request, he did not agree to be vaccinated, he wanted to leave with the card, and they did not accept it. At that moment, a nurse was elbowed,” said city guard Marco Mota.
According to the report, the nurse did not require medical attention, but told guards that her lips were swollen from Costa’s nudge.
Subsequently, Costa, 31, and the 26-year-old nurse were taken to Contagem Duty police station where they were questioned about the incident.
Costa has been released but is due in court for a hearing after the alleged victim filed a criminal complaint as a result.
The middleweight contender disagrees with the nurse’s version of events. He says he got the shot and the nurse was simply punched as he tried to break free after not being allowed to leave.
“He said he got the vaccine, but the nurses wouldn’t let him out with the card,” Mota said.
“He said it was stressful. He took the card and left. At that moment, a nurse grabbed him by the arm and he freed himself,” Mota said.
Costa is set to return to the octagon on August 20 against Luke Rockhold, although exactly where that card will fall is yet to be determined.
The former middleweight title challenger needs a big win after losing back to back to first champion Israel Adesanya and then Marvin Vettori.