With Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington embroiled in a felony battery court case in Florida’s legal system, many believed we wouldn’t see either of them back in the Octagon until that’s resolved. Not so, according to UFC President, Dana White.
White gave his thoughts on the case and its effect on matchmaking during the UFC Austin post-fight press conference (watch it here).
“We’ve had guys have legal situations and still fight,” he said. “I don’t think that’ll stop them from fighting.”
In the past, UFC has distanced itself from fighters involved in legal problems. Jon Jones was stripped of his Light Heavyweight title and suspended by the organization following a hit-and-run in 2015 (details here). UFC also refused to book Conor McGregor until a New York court ruled on assault and criminal mischief charges related to his infamous bus attack in 2018.
Things are a lot looser these days, though. Not even an illegal street fight involving two of the top welterweights in the promotion is enough to upset White too much. That leaves the door open for Masvidal and Covington to fight before their court case at the end of August is resolved ... if they choose.
For Masvidal, it’s a question of whether or not he wants to try and focus on a fight camp while a potential prison sentence awaits. With Covington, it’s a bit more complicated. When the Florida court filed felony battery charges against “Gamebred,” they alleged he gave Covington a brain injury in the altercation. Accepting a fight before the case is heard might raise questions regarding the legitimacy of that claim.
Colby hasn’t spoken out since the attack, but in a recent interview with ESPN Desportes, Masvidal said he’d return for a fight before 2022 was over.
“This year, I’ll guarantee a return,” he said. “I don’t know the date yet. I think that with two fights, I can be in contention for the title or in a title contender fight. There are options, but the first thing that matters is me: to be in the best condition of my life, to improve my fighting.”