To say Colby Covington is unhappy with the UFC would be a colossal understatement.
This past weekend the next welterweight title fight was confirmed as champion Tyron Woodley is expected to defend his title against Kamaru Usman on March 2 at UFC 235 in Las Vegas.
For months, Covington was the logical choice to face Woodley, not only thanks to the intense rivalry that they’ve shared, but also because the outspoken former All-American wrestler won the interim title at UFC 225 last June.
Unfortunately due to sinus surgery, Covington was unable to face Woodley three months later at UFC 228 in September. Covington then accepted several other potential dates for Woodley fight but the reigning welterweight champion was dealing with an injured thumb suffered in his win over Darren Till that wouldn’t allow him to fight in November at UFC 230 or in January at UFC 233.
Rather than wait four more weeks to book Woodley vs. Covington at UFC 235, the organization moved on entirely from the fight and instead shifted focus to Usman as the new No. 1 contender.
@ColbyCovMMA got screwed....and I know that made all of you chuckle a little bit.— Ben Askren (@Benaskren) January 6, 2019
Covington still can’t exactly explain why that happened but he knows he’s not going to fight for the welterweight title on March 2 and that’s definitely not OK with him.
“They never talked to me about March. As soon as January didn’t happen, they said I had to fight someone else, I had to fight backwards,” Covington explained when speaking to FloCombat on Monday. “I was like what do you mean? You promised me Tyron Woodley. I have a belt. I went to the White House. I’m the only fighter to ever go to the White House and meet with a sitting president. I’m not going backwards. I have a belt. Tyron Woodley has a disputed championship. I have a belt. I never lost my belt. We need to unify these belts.
“I’m only fighting Tyron Woodley because you promised me Tyron Woodley. You’ve given me the fight multiple times, I’ve accepted the fight, never asked for more money. I was just willing to accept whatever you guys would give me. How does that change and I have to fight someone else behind me four weeks before Tyron Woodley is going to be ready? How does that make sense? To be honest, there’s some shady dealings and some corrupt stuff going on behind the scenes.”
Perhaps the person most central to Covington’s ire is UFC president Dana White, who just a few months ago was helping to arrange a meeting between the interim welterweight champion and his good pal President Donald Trump.
Covington met President Trump along with White and even presented him with a UFC championship title.
White then said that Covington was next in line to face Woodley for the title and stated the same thing numerous times until suddenly he shifted his focus to Usman following his win over Rafael dos Anjos in late November.
Who do you guys wanna see me fight March 2nd in Vegas? @ufc— Tyron T-Wood Woodley (@TWooodley) December 31, 2018
Usman’s willingness to fight again on short notice after that win seemed to gain favor with the UFC while Covington has said he’s only going to fight Woodley for the welterweight title as previously promised.
Whatever the reason, White has now given the title fight opportunity to Usman and Covington is irate at the UFC boss for reneging on his promise not to mention the interim title that he won that is now being overlooked.
“He has baby nuts. He’s not a man,” Covington said about White. “He talks shit to these promoters. He can only talk shit in the media. He doesn’t know how to talk shit like a man. Dana’s got little baby nuts. If he had big nuts, he’d release me, but he doesn’t have big enough balls for that.”
Going from an interim champion to asking for his release inside one year seems like a giant swing for Covington, but he’s sticking to his guns when saying he would gladly leave the UFC over this entire debacle.
Covington doesn’t believe the UFC would ever actually release him but rather keep him sidelined and out of action so he can’t make a living from fighting.
“I would love to go fight somewhere else and keep proving that I’m the best in the world,” Covington said. “No matter what, you can’t take away my No. 1 ranking from me. I’m still the No. 1 ranked fighter in the world. I still have the UFC title that I never lost. I’d love to go somewhere else but let’s be honest, Dana White just talks shit and lies all the time. He was saying in an interview the other day ‘Oh, Colby missed out on his chance, he missed the boat. Guys that turn down fights doesn’t fly in the UFC. We’ll just cut you’.
“Dana White, you ain’t got balls motherfucker. You ain’t cutting me cause you know how valuable I am. You said you were gonna cut me after the Demian Maia fight. What happened? I fought for an interim title. Anything they say to the media, it’s all lies. The UFC is just a fake news reporting machine. They ain’t releasing me. They ain’t letting me go cause they know how valuable I am. They know my worth.”
Stop lying @TWooodley. You know @ufc never sent me anything. If they did, Id sign it live on @TMZ before the ink went dry dummy. Tell the truth. You have no power and you’re being a yes man... AGAIN. Go ahead and take the easy way out. Unlike you Im a man of my word. pic.twitter.com/nh4qh2K9Pe— Colby Covington (@ColbyCovMMA) December 26, 2018
Covington claims that he tried to get a meeting with the UFC and White to talk about the entire title fight situation, but his requests were rebuffed. Covington says his manager Dan Lambert, who also owns American Top Team, reached out to the UFC but even he was denied a meeting with White.
In a perfect world, Covington hopes the bridges burned with the UFC could be rebuilt, but even if they tell him he can face the winner of Woodley vs. Usman, he’s not sure he would buy it.
“We know what their promises mean,” Covington said. “They could say, ‘We promise you’re going to get the shot at Woodley or Usman’ but guess what? How far did your promises go before? They don’t go anywhere. We know Dana’s a liar. He’s a piece of shit person. We know the UFC, all they do is lie. All these people behind closed doors, they want to direct all these fighter’s lives — go fight in four weeks injured, it will be good for the company, we’ll do you a favor, it’s our word — they never hold those promises or repay the favor.
“It doesn’t matter if they say I’m going to fight the winner. You can’t hold anything they say with credibility anymore. They’re shitting on me. They’re shitting on the fans. They don’t care about their product.”
If Covington has one final message to pass along, it’s to the rest of the fighters on the UFC roster — some of whom are probably mocking the fact that he’s getting passed over for a title shot.
Covington doesn’t expect anybody to feel bad for him or stand up for the title shot he was promised, but he offers fair warning to the rest of the fighters that the same thing could happen to them on a moment’s notice.
“I’m the most hated person in the UFC and people aren’t going to take that side, but they better wake up and they better realize that this has nothing to do with what I say or what I’ve done,” Covington explained. “This has to do with the position I’m in. I won a belt. Dana White wrapped a belt around my waist. All these guys are being given promises from the UFC but what makes you think you’re any different than me?
“Hopefully fighters realize my situation and they come to my side. Because I’m standing up for all the fighters. Whether people agree with me or not, I’m pretty much fighting a battle for all the fighters and the next generation of fighters. Because I’m standing my ground. I’m not going to be bullied. I’m not a yes man. When the UFC says jump, I’m not saying 'how high?' because that’s not fair to me. The UFC thinks they run off their brand but that’s not true. The UFC runs off the fighters so hopefully these fighters take notice and how I’m going about my business.”