Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was in dire need of a welterweight opponent when Khamzat Chimaev was forced to bail on the UFC Vegas 21 main event, which took place last Sat. night (March 13) inside APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The promotion's first choice was Colby Covington, who is seated two spots about Leon Edwards in the 170-pound rankings. But “Chaos” wasn’t about to risk his place among the welterweight elite for a short-notice fight unless UFC was willing to pay him accordingly.
Covington breaks it down for Submission Radio:
“Irrelevant Leon Scott was supposed to fight some kid named Sputnik and you know, Sputnik pulls out a couple of times, he doesn’t want to fight, your hype job is down the drain. Sorry, UFC, your plan, it’s all folded up now. Now it’s all in shame. And once we get to that position, we’re three weeks out. You want me to save your card? You want me to get off the couch when I’m hanging out with Polyana Viana every day, and you want me to show up and save the day and make the UFC great again on short notice? It’s going to take a price tag. It’s not gonna be the basic offer that’s already in my contract. If you’re gonna give me the basic offer, I’m gonna take a full training camp and I’m gonna take my time. I’m gonna fight when I want to fight, when my body’s ready to fight.
(Dana) didn’t like it. He just, he pretty much went, ‘okay,’ and he just hung up and that was the end of the call. He didn’t like what I had to say. But I’m in the Colby Covington Incorporated business now, I’m not in the business to do charity. I’ve earned what I’ve earned. Look at my record, guys. I’ve beaten former champions, I’ve beaten hall-of-famers. The list, the resume of all the all-time greats that I’ve beat. I’m in the biggest fights, the pay-per-view fights, you know selling, big draw in the company.
I’m not in the charity business anymore. I’ve done so many favors for the UFC, and the UFC is like, ‘oh, we’ll repay you next time, we’ll do a favor for you next time.’ When did they ever do a favor for me? They’ve never done nothing for me. I’ve showed, I’ve saved their cards, verses Robbie Lawler when I had half of my face ripped off on two, three weeks’ notice. I showed up in Brazil when I wasn’t supposed to be in Brazil. I’ve done so many things for this company. You know, won a title, brought it to the White House. Got the president of the United States calling on their ESPN channel on their last fight, giving them tens of millions of views, the highest-rated post-fight promo that they’ve had on ESPN MMA and UFC MMA existence. So, they need to start giving me what I deserve. I’m sick of this. I’m not gonna be walked all over like a little kid anymore.”
The promotion settled for No. 13-ranked Belal Muhammad.
Unfortunately for UFC, and perhaps Edwards, nothing was resolved at UFC Vegas 21 because “Rocky” eye poked Muhammad, prompting referee Herb Dean to end the bout via “No Contest” instead of disqualification.
Following a brief apology, Edwards went right back to his title talk, though it may be difficult to promote a championship main event with “Rocky” leaving “Sin City” on such a sour note. And don’t expect Covington to help UFC clean up last weekend’s mess.
“They know what they can do. They know what they can do to get me to show up for that (Edwards) fight. But I’m not showing up for charity, guys. The guy still hasn’t won in two years. A no contest, that’s not a win, that’s not a fight. He’s gotta come back and win. He needs to rematch that Bailey guy. They need to fight again. That Bailey guy was talking all reckless all week saying, ‘oh, Colby, if I saw that guy in the streets, I’ll slap him, I’ll do this’. Bro, are you kidding me? Dustin Poirier and Jorge Masvidal said the same thing, ‘oh, it’s on sight, I’m gonna smack Colby when I see him in the street’. But then when they see me, it’s head down. Pipe down, little boy. These little boys, they talk reckless in the media, but then when we see each other face to face, it’s not that same energy, it’s a different energy. So, these guys are talking reckless out there. Rerun that Leon fight versus Bailey, cause nobody gives a shit about it. No one wants to watch that hot garbage. The only fight to make was me verse Marty Fakenewsman or me versus Street Judas Masvidal.”
UFC matchmakers have their work cut out for them.