Anoth­er fight in the UFC may be can­celed due to the ill­ness of one of the par­tic­i­pants. This time the vic­tim was the Brazil­ian Paulo Cos­ta, who may fly out of the fight with Khamzat Chi­maev.

The UFC 294 tour­na­ment, sched­uled for Octo­ber 21, will bring togeth­er many Russ­ian-speak­ing MMA stars. Islam Makhachev will fight Alex Volka­novs­ki because Oliveira pulled out due to an injury in train­ing. Khamzat Chi­maev also has prob­lems with the fight — his oppo­nent Paulo Cos­ta may with­draw due to a seri­ous ill­ness.

What happened to Chimaev’s opponent?

The oth­er day, Cos­ta pub­lished a pho­to on social net­works, under which he said: he suf­fered. Before this, it was report­ed that the Brazil­ian had under­gone surgery, but the details were not spec­i­fied. In the descrip­tion, Cos­ta not­ed: he suf­fered a staph infec­tion, which required surgery.

“How strong are you? You won’t know until you pass the test by fire. Was oper­at­ed on three weeks ago, 10 stitch­es. But I know how tough I am, and I con­tin­ue to improve and over­come myself. This won’t stop me, I con­tin­ue spar­ring and every­thing else,” Cos­ta wrote under the pho­to on social net­works.

It has now become known that Cos­ta may with­draw from the fight. Treat­ment for staphy­lo­coc­cus always involves tak­ing antibi­otics, and this could make it dif­fi­cult for Cos­ta to cut down to the aver­age weight lim­it. How­ev­er, he insists that he is ready to fight. How­ev­er, whether the weight will do it is a big ques­tion.

The Chi­maevs and Cos­ta were wait­ing for the fight, because they had an Inter­net war, which devel­oped into hos­til­i­ty. The fight­ers trolled each oth­er, threw memes and promised to destroy each oth­er in the octa­gon. Addi­tion­al­ly, Chi­maev is mak­ing his debut at mid­dleweight and Cos­ta should be his test.

How did Chimaev react to the cancellation of the fight?

After rumors about the can­cel­la­tion of the fight, Chi­maev uploaded a meme on social net­works show­ing Cos­ta with a woman’s hair. The gist of the joke is that Cos­ta once refused a fight because he was recov­er­ing from a hair trans­plant. Pho­tos of the Brazil­ian spread across the Inter­net and became a meme.

Chi­maev also joked that Paulo Cos­ta talked a lot, but now he’s mak­ing up excus­es. And he hint­ed that the fight­er “gave back”:

Cos­ta con­tract­ed a dead­ly dis­ease that often affects fight­ers. It is gen­er­al­ly accept­ed that peo­ple at risk include peo­ple with weak­ened immune sys­tems, prison inmates and drug addicts. Why do fight­ers suf­fer from it so often?

Staphylococcus — the “plague” of training halls

Staphy­lo­coc­cus is trans­mit­ted through close bod­i­ly con­tact, so it threat­ens peo­ple who play con­tact sports. Any type of mar­tial arts is among them: fight­ers train on the same mats, in close con­tact with part­ners who devel­op abra­sions and open ones ear­ly.

Fight­ers often wash the mats them­selves after train­ing and strict­ly observe hygiene because they are afraid of staphy­lo­coc­cus. It caus­es the skin to become swollen and red, and a pock­et of pus forms around the infect­ed area. Infec­tion is espe­cial­ly dan­ger­ous dur­ing the weight-lift­ing peri­od, when the fighter’s body and his immu­ni­ty are as weak­ened as pos­si­ble.

Ex-UFC fighter Jason Miller developed an infection in his throat after a fight

But ordi­nary staphy­lo­coc­cus is not as dan­ger­ous as MRSA (methi­cillin-resis­tant Staphy­lo­coc­cus aureus), the most dan­ger­ous form, resis­tant even to antibi­otics. Infec­tion can lead to sep­sis, pneu­mo­nia and even death.

UFC fight­ers reg­u­lar­ly con­tract staphy­lo­coc­cus, but more often than not they man­age to recov­er. In Decem­ber 2022, UFC star Dustin Poiri­er was hos­pi­tal­ized with an infec­tion and recov­ered with great dif­fi­cul­ty. For a long time, doc­tors could not help him, and antibi­otics did not work, and the fight­er even thought about end­ing his career.

“I lay in bed all day, I have staphy­lo­coc­cus. It hurts so much that I can’t walk,” the fight­er com­plained.

Poirier's leg during illness

One of the creepi­est cas­es of a fight­er bat­tling a staph infec­tion is for­mer UFC cham­pi­on Kevin Ran­dle­man. In 2007, Fedor Emelia­nenko’s for­mer rival learned that he had MRSA. The infec­tion was so aggres­sive that it ate holes the size of fists in the fight­er’s body.

Click and watch

Kevin was in seri­ous con­di­tion for more than three weeks, but mirac­u­lous­ly sur­vived. But the con­se­quences of the dis­ease took a toll on his body: he lost a lot, and in 2016 he died at only 44 years old.