UFC middleweight Paulo Costa has been accused of striking a nurse with an elbow during a dispute over his COVID-19 vaccination card in his homeland of Brazil.
The alleged incident took place on Monday evening at a shopping centre in the city 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 tried to leave with a vaccination card.
“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,” municipal guard Marco Mota said.
According to the report, the nurse did not need medical attention, but did tell the guards that her lips were swollen from Costa’s elbow strike.
Afterward, Costa, 31, and the 26-year-old female nurse were taken to the Contagem Duty Police Station where they were questioned about the incident.
Costa was released but is due in court for a hearing after the alleged victim filed a criminal complaint as a result.
The middleweight contender does not agree with the nurse’s version of events. He says he did get the vaccine and that the nurse simply got struck as he was trying to break free after not being allowed to leave.
“He said he got the vaccine, but the nurses didn’t let him go out with the card,” Mota said.
“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,” Mota said.
Costa is set to get back in the octagon on August 20 against Luke Rockhold, though where exactly that card will go down is yet to be determined.
The former middleweight title challenger needs a big win after losing two in a row to first champion Israel Adesanya and then Marvin Vettori.