Colby Covington was back making controversial remarks after his dominating win against bitter rival Tyron Woodley at UFC Vegas 11.
Woodley was stretchered away with a broken rib following the main event, whilst Covington and UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman were locked in a volatile verbal exchange live on TV. Usman was working as a guest analyst for ESPN when the two traded insults and taunts during Covington’s post-fight interview.
Covington’s support of President Donald Trump has been his trademark in his rise to the top of the UFC’s welterweight roster as one of the organisations most divisive fighters. So when Trump gave Covington a phone call to congratulate him on his convincing victory, he was left on an all-time high. Covington went on to use the call from the President in his verbal arsenal and ended up taking aim at Usman’s African roots. (H/T MMAFighting.com)
“Who did you get a call from? Did you get a call from, freaking, your little tribe? Did they give you some smoke signals for you?” Covington shouted. “You’re a joke, Marty Fakenewsman!”
In the lead up to his fight with Woodley, Covington cultivated more controversy in his denouncement of Woodley’s affiliation with the Black Lives Matter movement. Covington called Woodley a “terrorist” and claimed “he hates America”.
UFC President Dana White insists that he is not going to censor his athletes from saying what they like, regardless if it rubs some people the wrong way. White addressed Covington’s comments during Thursday’s press conference for Israel Adesanya vs Paulo Costa at UFC 253 in Fight Island.
“These guys all have their own causes, things, they’re own beliefs,” he said. “We don’t muzzle anybody here. We let everybody speak their mind.
“I don’t know what he said that was racist. I don’t know if I heard anything racist that he said.”
When asked if he would criticise blatant racism from his fighters, White replied: “of course”.
Fellow welterweight contender Edwards was one of the many people insulted by Covington’s remarks. Edwards was also disheartened by both the UFC and ESPN for not taking any action following what was said in Saturday’s post-fight interview between Covington and Usman.
“That’s what got me,” Edwards told MMA Fighting on Wednesday. “The UFC has said nothing about it. ESPN has said nothing about it. Letting it flow like it’s a normal thing to f**king say and do and it’s not. Your tribe and smoke signals and blah, blah, blah, and he’s calling Woodley a terrorist because of Black Lives Matter. All these statements he’s making is racist. There’s no other way to go around it.
“If it was the other way around, if a Black athlete was saying to a white athlete in that regards, people would report it straight away. I find it very weird that no one is stepping up and no one is saying anything. UFC isn’t saying anything about it. ESPN is allowing it to carry on.”
Were Colby Covington’s comments to Kamaru Usman racist?