It was widely believed that Kamaru Usman would defend his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight title against Colby Covington in the main event of UFC 244 on Nov. 2, 2019, in New York City.
But after negotiations hit a snag, the promotion had to look elsewhere, offering the title fight to Jorge Masvidal. But, “The Nigerian Nightmare” wasn’t feeling that fight, so the promotion ended up booking Masvidal against Nate Diaz to headline the pay-per-view (PPV) event.
So why did Usman and Covington fall thorough? According to “Chaos,” UFC didn’t come correct with its financial offer.
“My side of the story is that I was ready to fight. But UFC came to me with a basic challenger offer and I’m a champion,” Covington declared during a recent interview on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show “There was no negotiation. They came to me and said, ‘Take this or leave it and we will pass it on to the next person.’ That’s not fair negotiating and that’s not right. So I’m just not going to take the first offer that is offered to me. We need to meet in the middle, there is more that needs to be done.”
Furthermore, Covington revealed that UFC also had problems trying to get Usman on board, so trying to put all of the blame on him simply isn’t fair.
“Also, I am the A side and you can’t even get a deal done with the B side in Usman. So why are we even rushing it? Usman didn’t want to fight anybody, my ex-best friend Jorge or Leon Scott. The problem is with Usman, not with me.”
Leon Scott is actually Leon Edwards, though Colby wouldn’t explain why he gave “Rocky” that new name. As far as UFC offering Masvidal the title fight, Covington is baffled, saying that an average fighter shouldn't be getting championship bouts.
“Everybody knows there is only one fight to make, the title unification fight with me and Marty fake newsman. So it was very frustrating that they were moving to somebody who is a 50/50 journeymen in the division,” he said.
“It doesn’t make sense. I got a belt, he’s got a belt. He’s got the Power Ranger belt and I got the most prestigious belt — America’s belt, Donald Trump’s belt. This belt needs to get unified with that Power Ranger belt Usman has. So yes, I was a little agitated.”
Indeed, Covington and Masvidal’s friendship has been going downhill over the last few months. Still, Covington believes UFC is being completely unfair when it comes to offering him title fights, saying that a champion like him needs to get paid his worth.
“UFC is playing a game that is not fair. And really I am standing up for all of the fighters. Look at what I’ve done for this sport. I went to the White House, have a relationship with the first family and the Trumps. I have won every fight, I have a world title and they still want to treat me like crap and 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 with the ESPN deal, they are making so much money. So they need to make this right.”
Therein lies the problem with UFC granting interim titles and then stripping them. Covington is adamant he is still the interim 170-pound king, while Dana White and Co. have stated in the past that is not the case. So when negotiations open up, you have two sides struggling to get on the same page. And until the promotion opens up its checkbook, it will have a hard time trying to get Covington to step back into the Octagon.