Things in the UFC welterweight title picture remain a bit murky at the moment. Currently, the division is fronted by Kamaru Usman, who dominated Tyron Woodley earlier this year to capture the 170-pound strap.
It seemed like Colby Covington was the guaranteed next challenger for “The Nigerian Nightmare’s” title. However, negotiations for that fight seem to have fallen flat. In fact, the Usman fight was apparently offered to Covington’s ex-best friend Jorge Masvidal, and Leon Edwards as well. Of course, those fights didn’t come to fruition either.
Speaking on “The Ariel Helwani MMA Show,” Covington gave his side of the story and explained how negotiations for the Usman fight broke down.
“Yeah, my side of the story is, I’m ready to fight, I was ready to fight, but the UFC came to me with a basic challenger’s offer, and I’m a champion,” Covington said. “There was no negotiation. They came and ran at me and said, ‘Here, take this or leave it and we’ll pass it on to the next person.’ That’s not fair negotiating and that’s not right, so I’m not gonna just take the first offer that you offer me. We need to meet in the middle.
“There’s more that’s to be done. But also, I’m the A-side and you can’t even get the B-side done with Usman, so, why are we even rushing if you can’t even get the B-side done? Usman didn’t want to fight anybody. He didn’t want to fight me, he didn’t want to fight my ex-best friend Jorge, he didn’t want to fight Leon Scott [Leon Edwards], so the problem is Usman. The problem has nothing to do with me.”
Covington believes he’s worth a lot more than the “basic challenger’s offer” offered to him by the Las Vegas-based promotion. Given all the eyeballs he brings to the company, and the extra work he puts in to garner interest in the UFC brand, the American Top Team (ATT) product believes he should be compensated fairly, and not treated like “crap” the way he has been as of late.
“Not that far really,” Covington said. “They gave me one offer, they said take it or leave it. That’s not fair negotiating. I wasn’t asking for anything unreasonable. I was just asking for what I deserved and what I earned. I put my life on the line for this company. You know that post-fight promo in Brazil, you know I accepted a fight for this title in Brazil again after I had death threats and favelas wanting my head out in Brazil.
“And I still was wanting to go out and put my life on the line for this company. And I continue to do it time and time again, go to those shows, sell those shows, get people excited about the UFC brand. Branching out, giving my time and my money out of pocket to go visit the service and the members that serve our country in the military. So, UFC, they’re playing a game that’s not fair and, really, I’m just standing up for all the fighters.
“The fighters – look at what I’ve done in this sport. I’ve been to the White House, I have a relationship with the first family and the Trumps, I’ve won every fight I’ve won, I have a world title, and they [UFC] still treat me like crap. They still want to not give me any room to negotiate and work. It’s not fair. The company is rolling in money, 30 percent growth last month and we all know the ESPN deal, they’re making so much money. So, they need to make this right.”
What do you think about Covington claiming the UFC treated him like “crap” in negotiations to fight Usman?