It was an amazing night of victory for Colby Covington at UFC Vegas 11. Not only did he pull off a one-sided victory over longtime nemesis Tyron Woodley (watch the highlights here), but he was personally congratulated by the president of the United States over the phone following the win.
But of course, it wouldn’t be a “Chaos” Covington fight week without things going too far and getting real ugly at several points. Shortly after he took the call from Donald Trump while on the air with ESPN, he got into it with welterweight champ turned ESPN post-fight show commentator Kamaru Usman.
What was said was as cheap and petty as you’d expect.
“Marty Fakenewsman, you got so lucky that last time, you know what happened two days before,” Covington said. “That was the worst fight of my life. That was my worst night and that was your best night. Wait til the next time I see you, there ain’t gonna be no cheap shots, you’re not going to be able to call fake nut shots, you’re not going to call fake eye pokes and get ten minutes of time outs and get a fake stoppage. I’m coming for you again. You know who was winning that last fight. You’re on borrowed time, this is my time, I’m getting my belt back.”
We’re not even sure Covington was expecting “The Nigerian Nightmare” Usman to get a response. But of course they put him right in there with Colby and things got puerile immediately.
“First go wipe your mouth, you’ve got a little something on there from the president so wipe your mouth,” Usman said.
“You’re so soft, you’re soy boy soft,” Covington replied. “You’re so soft! Who did you get a call from? You get a call from, frickin’, your little tribe? They give you some smoke signals for you? You’re a joke, Marty Fakenewsman. Newsflash: you’re a joke. You’re fake news, no one cares about you. You’re pathetic. You got the worst decision in the history of the sport. So many bad calls against me.”
“I finished you,” Usman replied. “I broke your face. I broke. Your face.”
“No you didn’t, I stood right up!” Covington replied, getting worked up to a yell. “I got right up and protested right away. That was a fake stoppage, fake ref, fake fight. Wait til I see you next time, Marty Fakenewsman. You’re dead! You’re dead! We got unfinished business. You better show up. I’m coming for you!”
“Wait til this time. You know who was winning. Fake stoppage. You didn’t bring nothing. The only thing you broke was your own will, you broke your spirit. That’s why you’re running from me. That’s why you’re hiding. There’s nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. Wait til I see you next time. You didn’t finish Tyron Woodley like I did. You’re dead, you’re on borrowed time. Keep that belt shiny and warm for me.”
“You better train hard, keep doing that EPO,” Covington continued. “Keep it up. I don’t need nothing. This is raw American steel. I got the president of the United States. Dragon energy. When I see you, when I see you, you’re dead. I ain’t playing. I was playing before, I ain’t playing any more. I’m serious now.”
“Game of Thrones out here, huh?” Usman replied with a laugh. “Dragon energy huh?”
There’s no doubt Usman and Covington will end up fighting again eventually. And while that fight may end up being another Fight of the Year contender, we’re sure the build-up and inevitable beef will also be cringe of the year. The UFC went to a lot of effort coming into Woodley vs. Covington trying to keep the temperature down on the trash talk between the two — going so far as to separate the two men for individual press conferences, something we’re pretty sure has never been done before without some sort of actual logistical reason.
This latest moment is just a small reminder of how nasty things can get when the promotion takes their hand off the wheel for even a second. Covington definitely shouldn’t have made things racist with that dig at Kamaru’s Nigerian heritage, and now it feels like the moment is being packaged into promotion for the rematch. And let’s be clear: building fight hype off racism is gross, and it’s the last thing we want to see encouraged by the UFC and ESPN.