American Top Team is finally taking steps to reign in their rogue member, Colby Covington.
When Covington first donned the “Chaos” personality, he trash talked everyone outside his gym but was usually pretty careful about messing with team unity. That balancing act started to degrade as people in the gym started speaking out about him, causing him to lash back out at them. And thus an unending cycle of s**t talk started that has gotten completely out of hand at this point.
In Colby’s latest Submission Radio interview, the former interim welterweight champ threw some pretty longwinded shade at ATT fighters Dustin Poirier, Jorge Masvidal, and Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Soon after, he came out and made a sincere sounding apology to Poirier, which between the lines was more of an apology to ATT head Dan Lambert.
”I broke a promise of Dan Lambert, and I feel extremely ashamed of myself doing that,” Colby said.
Now the “What do you do with a problem like Colby Covington?” question has made its way up into the coaches meetings at ATT and a new zero tolerance policy has been released by the gym for fighters that don’t have a contract to fight each other.
”It’s gotten personal, and I think I was wrong,” Lambert said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “I think I made a mistake. I think I should have nipped it in the bud, and it’s gotten to the point where it’s trickled down where it affects coaches, it affects training partners, it affects vibes at the gym, and as a result, we’ve adjusted and come up with a new policy: Unless you have a bout agreement to fight someone, in which case there obviously needs to be some promotion, there’s a gag order on talking about people at the gym. If that’s something a fighter chooses they need to do, then they have to go train somewhere else.”
There’s been a ton of speculation about how secure Covington’s place was at ATT as he continued to widen his circle of smacktalk to include more than just Brazilians and Trump haters. A growing list of people from the Florida gym were threatening to wreck him, and his coach Dan Lambert was one of the few people on his side protecting him from the consequences of his words. Now Lambert is done allowing him to wreck the gym’s harmony.
”I don’t think there are options – it’s an absolute zero-tolerance policy,” Lambert said. “If you do it and you break it, go somewhere else. People come, people go – no individual is bigger than the team, and the fact of the matter is, the team’s going to be here 30 years from now, still doing the same thing when certain individuals are long gone. We’re going to set up something that’s best for the environment in the gym and for the people in the gym today and tomorrow.”
Now this isn’t just going to affect Covington — in fact, we’d argue this is just as much to protect him as it is to punish him if he steps out of line. In the case of Joanna and Jorge, they were the ones that started in on Colby, ‘forcing’ him to respond. They’re just as much bound by this zero tolerance policy as “Chaos.” Now they’ll have to bite their lips when asked about the hurricane of human drama that’s clearly going on behind the scenes.
Can Colby manage to keep his mouth shut about the fighters in his gym? Can everyone else keep their mouths shut about him ? We have our doubts. Will Lambert’s zero tolerance rule be enforced the moment he slips up? I guess we’ll see about that too.