There are many excuses that fighters have used over the years to explain poor performances in big fights. Sometimes, it’s issues out of their control that they say lead to losses, with illness or injury that they fight through frequently cited for struggles.
However, on occasion, we get an excuse that, even if true, doesn’t really help their effort to look better than they did in the ring or octagon. Take Deontay Wilder’s complaint that his pre-fight armor he wore for his ring walk against Tyson Fury was too heavy and made his legs weak for the fight. That is, probably, a thing that happened, but is also the fault of Wilder for choosing a 45-pound set of armor for his ring walk rather than, say, getting carried to the ring like Fury.
In that same vein, Paulo Costa revealed on Saturday night in a video on his YouTube channel, that a big reason why he performed so poorly in his second round TKO loss to Israel Adesanya back at UFC 253 in September was because he drank a whole bottle of wine the night before the fight because he couldn’t sleep due to leg cramps. Because it was on Fight Island, the fight was at 9 a.m. local with a 5 a.m. wake up time, and he was still either drunk or hungover when it was time to fight.
“I was kind of drunk [when] I fought, maybe, on hangover,” Costa said in Portuguese. “I couldn’t sleep because of the [leg] cramps. Keep in mind that the fight happens at 9 a.m. [local time], we have to wake up at 5 to get ready, stretch, wrap the hands. The UFC told us to wake up at 5 in the morning to go to the arena to fight. I hadn’t slept until 2:30.
“It was my mistake and I don’t blame anyone else, it was something I chose [to do], but, in order to try to sleep, because I had to sleep since I was awake for 24 hours, I had wine, too much wine, a bottle [of wine] to try to black out. I had a glass and didn’t work. Two glasses, it didn’t work. Half bottle, didn’t work. I had it all.”
Leg cramps sound miserable and it wouldn’t be surprising if that was an effect of cutting weight for weigh-in and struggling to get rehydrated. If that was the case, I don’t think a bottle of wine is the right answer for cramping problems, but hey, I guess in the moment he was thinking “this will knock me out.” Unfortunately, the next morning Adesanya also knocked him out and the lesson here is, if you’re battling leg cramps the night before the biggest fight of your life, a bottle of wine isn’t the answer. A tough performance because you’re dealing with leg cramps would fall under the “acceptable” category of excuses. Losing because you were either still drunk or hungover, unfortunately, isn’t.