Alex Davis, a longtime MMA manager who helped found American Top Team, told Fightful.com that ATT has addressed the recent Colby Covington controversy by ordering team members to keep the issue out of the gym.
Davis discussed Covington and much more during an exclusive interview with Fighftul.com. Covington, who trains at ATT, called Brazilians "filthy animals" during a post-fight speech in Sao Paolo, Brazil, in October. That could be a problem at ATT considering that the team's roster of fighters includes many competitors who are Brazilian or come from Brazilian heritage.
Davis recounted a recent meeting at ATT called by the owner, Dan Lambert:
"He had a very sensible position. He said, 'Listen, inside the school, I don't want to hear about anything. Inside the school everybody respects each other, nobody argues with each other, whatever happens outside the school, if they're going to fight they're going to get arrested, that's their problem. Inside the school, we're a team. Everybody needs to respect each other, train with each other and just move on. It is what it is."
Davis also stuck up for the embattled Covington, to some degree.
"He's saying a lot of stuff and it's a little bit out of ... going too far sometimes. But I was there in Brazil for his first fight and I was in Brazil for his second fight and I was ashamed by the way he was treated. There's more than one perspective to that although I understand the Brazilians—I'm Brazilian myself—being offended for the way he's taking on but he's trying to put his name out there, you know? Unfortunately now with the McGregor factor in, people feel obliged to have to do things like that to get where they are and it's our fault. Think about it. Nobody was talking about Colby until he started shooting his mouth off and now everybody's talking about him. It is what it is."
Speaking of McGregor, Davis also gave his take on the controversial UFC champion, who climbed into the cage and scuffled with officials at Bellator 187 in his native Ireland and, more recently, allegedly got embroiled in a bar room brawl.
"I don't think they'll sanction him. I think he'll come right back and fight—unfortunately. I think that it's not good for the sport for high-level athletes to act like that but at least I can tell you mine don't," Davis said.
Davis went on to note past fighters who found ways to entertain and generate buzz for their bouts through elaborate entrances and other means than just talking trash.
"Creating hype has been a part of this sport for a long time. I do not think that you have to talk negatively about people to achieve that. Some guys, like McGregor, he's funny to listen to. Face it, I didn't like him very much but when I start translating his stuff I have to laugh. He's got that charisma to do it. Not everybody does."
Davis, a former competitor in judo and jiu-jitsu whose list of current and former clients includes a laundry list of UFC fighters, discussed his own managerial philosophy.
"I was an athlete. I had my dreams. I didn't have anybody to help me," Davis noted. "I didn't achieve some of those dreams because I didn't have someone to help me so when I see these kids now that have their dreams, I feel obliged to help them. I'd like to touch their lives."
Davis noted that, with many years' experience, he does not seek out prospective clents but lets them come to him.
"A lot of these other managers, they're all out there poaching guys and trying to steal guys from other people and I don't do that. I just sit back and let them come to me," he said. "MMA has to be one of the most unpredictable activities on earth. You never know whats going to happen so you can't really pick and choose who's gonna be good and who isn't. Listen, I've been doing this so long I can pretty much pick talent but it doesn't mean anything because, in MMA, a loss or two losses and you're at the bottom of the barrel."