Colby Covington believes yelling at a Brazilian audience and calling them ‘filthy animals’ saved his UFC career.
It was that night before an enraged partisan audience in Sau Paulo, three years ago, that the American’s new ‘persona’ was born and he has since become one of the most divisive, controversial and hated athletes in the United States.
He claims the UFC planned to cut ties with him. They found him too boring, a weak performer outside the cage and forgettable inside.
Colby Covington is fast becoming one of the most hated athletes in the United States
Covington has met President Donald Trump on many occasions and is a strong supporter
The UFC welterweight contender surrounds himself with bikini-clad women for photo shoots
So he says he was forced to play a character. Someone who has always walked the line between unsavory and offensive, but has now turned into something much more sinister.
Covington’s alter ego as a Donald Trump-loving patriot has been largely laughed at and fired by his fellow UFC fighters, even in the most painfully fraught era in American politics.
But that all changed over the weekend. On Sunday, he fought and defeated Tyron Woodley, an African-American former UFC Welterweight Champion, who is a vocal supporter of the BLM movement and answered ‘Black Lives Matter’ to every question at a press conference last week.
Covington denounced him as a communist and Marxist, before describing people involved in the racial justice movement as terrorists and criminals.
He posted a photo to his Instagram of himself grinning in a baseball cap, writing, “The face I pull when I’m ready to give a domestic terrorist sympathizer a hard lesson in American determination.”
Covington defeated Tyron Woodley at the weekend, but his win was overshadowed
Covington was criticized for being racist towards welterweight champion Kamaru Usman
And in the wake of Covington’s win, he was interviewed by current champion Kamaru Usman, who is Nigerian-American and defeated Covington, breaking his jaw when they clashed in December last year.
Usman asked about the congratulatory phone call between Covington and Trump on Sunday night in his role as an ESPN analyst.
Covington replied, ‘Who did you get a call from? Do you get a call from, damn it, your little tribe? Are they giving you some smoke signals for you? You’re kidding. . . You are fake news. ‘
Incidentally, on the call itself. Covington said, “Thank you very much, Mr. President, you gave me the dragon energy after shaking your hand at your meeting on Sunday. It doesn’t matter if King Kong was for me, I wouldn’t lose after I got your hand. ‘
He also mentioned NBA star LeBron James: “ First responders, you keep us safe, not these awakened athletes.
“I am these awakened athletes and these limp cowards like LeBron James was fed up with.” He later tweeted, ‘LOL to the snowflakes believing LeBron James could even last 10 seconds with me!’
Covington has created a persona where he considers himself an all-American patriot
Since then, the UFC’s main sponsor Reebok has made this statement: “ Reebok is the uniform provider for the UFC, but we don’t sponsor Colby Covington. We disagree with the feelings he expressed, and firmly believe that black lives matter. We stand behind athletes and communities fighting for change. ‘
Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya said: “This man has directly insulted my culture, my brother and many other cultures, and no one says anything. But it just shows you a mirror. Show you a mirror for you. ‘
And bantamweight Sijara Eubanks told ESPN, ‘It wasn’t’ too bad ‘. It was downright racist. It was racist. It was disgusting. It was frankly disappointing. ‘
Perhaps Adesanya’s reference to ‘no one says anything’ was a thinly disguised dig into the UFC’s own refusal to condemn Covington’s language.
The organization’s president, Dana White, said, “These guys all have their own goals, things – all of them their own beliefs.
The 32-year-old’s words have been condemned by fellow fighters, but not by the UFC
The welterweight claims he was cut by the UFC, so he had to create a persona
“We don’t muzzle anyone here. We let everyone give their opinion. I don’t know what he said was racist. I don’t know if I heard anything racist he said. I do not know.’
White is himself a supporter of Trump and has previously spoken at a meeting for the president.
Oddly, Covington was willing to slip the mask on occasionally, explaining why he felt pushed to create his persona.
In an interview with Candace Owen, he admitted, “I’ve never told this story before. Three fights ago before I fought the world’s number 2, this man is called Demian Maia in Brazil. They [UFC] told my manager Dan Lambert that they wouldn’t re-sign me.
‘They didn’t like my style, they didn’t like that I wasn’t fun. This was before I really started to become an entertainer and understand the entertainment aspect of this business. ‘
‘I get paid $ 30,000 to fight against the number two in the world. After you pay taxes and pay your coaches, you really do get $ 5000 or $ 10,000. ‘
Covington, pictured here examining Donald Trump Jr. reads, wearing a signed cap
He makes sure the American flag is never far away and is one of the most divisive fighters in MMA
I go out and knock [Demian Maia] and leave him in a pool of his own blood in his hometown of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and I shoot this promo at the Brazilians and say, “You are all a bunch of filthy animals and Brazil, you’re a mess.” That promo went so viral on the internet that UFC thought, ‘we have to keep it, we have to re-sign it because that promo is so big.
“That saved my career, it was a turning point in my career, and the rest is history.”
And when asked on BT Sport how it affected his personal relationships, the 32-year-old was equally candid.
“They don’t realize I’m doing it to make money and I’m doing it for business,” he said.
Really, if anything, it just shows me who is real and what’s true and the people who have really stepped by my side and understand what I do are the people that only matter to me. I don’t care about the other people. ‘
And if there were any doubts about the Covington flicks switch to enable this character, an anecdote of former UFC fighter turned podcaster and comedian Brendan Schaub leaves little doubt about the illusion he wants to create.
Despite the image Covington portrays, the mask has slipped before in interviews
Covington had hired a number of bikini-clad women to surround him while Schaub talked to him for his Food Truck Diaries show.
Schaub explained, “They don’t know who he is, they hate being there. So we’re in the back and he (Covington) says, “Uhh !! you know what would be cool talking to Brendan, one of you can rub my shoulders.”
“They said,” I’m not rubbing your f ****** shoulders. ”
‘He (Covington) is going nowhere? She’s gonna ‘F *** no’. He (Covington) says, “That’s cool, okay.”
Of course, the line between Covington’s true beliefs and the beliefs he roars into a microphone blurs.
He seems to have a real affection for the president and conviction in spitting out poison at people with opposing views, but it can all just be rehearsed in front of the mirror.
Martial arts are always story driven and fighters can create their own. Generating hype, rivalry, and soap opera inevitably spurs their careers and bank balances to the fore.
Alongside this Instagram post, Covington wrote, “The face I pull when I’m ready to give a domestic terrorist sympathizer a hard lesson in American determination.”
Covington is now enjoying the fruits of his work, and his thespian work in public sells far more tickets and pay-per-views than the drab personality of the past, even if the vast majority of the attention is negative.
But he’s a world-class fighter in his own right and exciting to watch. In fact, ‘Chaos’ holds the record for the most strikes in a UFC fight (541 against Robbie Lawler).
Fighting power alone should be enough to see him remain one of the sport’s biggest stars without the toxic fuel he adds to the fire.
Racism and everything that comes close to it shames both him and the UFC. The fabricated persona may have saved his career, but if he fails to muzzle himself, it could end up costing him.