Former UFC interim welterweight champion Colby Covington may have crossed the line with some racial statements he made after UFC Vegas 11.
Covington said the following statements after UFC Vegas (via MMA Fighting):
“Who did you get a call from? Did you get a call from, freaking, your little tribe? Did they give you some smoke signals for you?” Covington shouted to Kamaru Usman. “You’re a joke, Marty Fakenewsman!”
“The Black Lives Matter is a complete sham. It’s a joke," Covington said (via Tim Bissell of Bloody Elbow). "They’re taking these people that are complete terrorists. They’re taking these people that that are criminals. These aren’t people that are hardworking Americans, blue-collar Americans. These are bad people. They’re criminals. They shouldn’t be attacking police. If you’re breaking the law and you’re threatening the cops with weapons, you deserve to get what you get. Law enforcement protects us all. If we don’t have law enforcement, it’d be the wild wild west. [Woodley]’s a communist. He’s a Marxist. He stands for criminals. He hates America, and that’s why he got broke tonight."
Israel Adesanya, who is headlining this weekend's UFC 253 card, said the following about Covington's comments.
"It just shows you the landscape of the media and what it is right now. I made a joke about dropping Romero like the Twin Towers and everyone lost their mind," Adesanya explained on Wednesday's UFC 253 virtual media day. "It was a joke and it was pretty funny but people took it as I was being offensive and digging. But I was making a joke. This guy has directly insulted my culture, my brother and many other cultures and stuff. No one says anything about it. It shows a mirror. It shows a mirror to you guys. Yeah, I don't really care. Kamaru Usman broke his jaw."
Leon Edwards, who has already deemed Covington a “racist scumbag,” told the following to MMA Fighting:
“That’s what got me – the UFC has said nothing about it,” Edwards said. “ESPN has said nothing about it. Letting it flow like it’s a normal thing to f**king say and do and it’s not. Your tribe and smoke signals and blah, blah, blah, and he’s calling Woodley a terrorist because of Black Lives Matter. All these statements he’s making is racist. There’s no other way to go around it.
“If it was the other way around, if a Black athlete was saying to a white athlete in that regards, people would report it straight away. I find it very weird that no one is stepping up and no one is saying anything. UFC isn’t saying anything about it. ESPN is allowing it to carry on. I understand he’s creating a character, but race that’s not a character. That’s just hate, and he’s spreading hate. I never liked the guy and after that – I 100 percent don’t like the guy.”
Hakeem Dawodu, who competes this weekend at UFC 253, found Covington’s comments to be racist and extremely rude.
“I found them extremely rude, racist,” Dawodu said. “I’m kind of surprised he’s allowed to talk free like that. You know everyone’s allowed to talk freely, but I took offense to it. It’s crazy that it’s comments like that causing more and more of a divide amongst the people. So that’s how he gets down, but I’m not really with that, and I took offense to that for sure.
“That’s racist. They were almost worried about my walkout song, and he’s going to be saying stuff like that and that’s crazy, especially on such a big stage. I feel like that’s only going to promote more and more divide and cause more and more issues. He’s got the president calling him, backing him up on that. I don’t really appreciate it, and that’s how it is I guess.”
Sijara Eubanks, who is also competing this weekend at UFC 253, finds Covington’s comments to be racist as well.
“Let’s be real first and foremost, it wasn’t unfortunate, it was flat out racist what Colby was saying,” Eubanks said. “It was racist, it was disgusting and quite frankly disappointing. But at the same time, the one thing I do appreciate is the UFC lets whoever say whatever. They have never muzzled us as fighters. If you want to talk, don’t want to talk. If you want to be political, you don’t want to be political. I have to appreciate that the company lets us say what we want.
“It is America, and everybody can say what they want, but to be fair, I think guys that talk like Mike Perry and Colby Covington, I think a lot of things they say are racist and disgusting. I think it should be reported as such instead of unfortunate or controversial. Like let’s be real, it’s racist. He’s calling the guy a Marxist and a communist, and he’s saying that he’s un-American. Like if you’re born in this country, you’re American. I don’t give a damn. If you were born in this country, I don’t care what your background is, what your race is, what your socioeconomic status is, you’re an American and that’s it. To have another American say that you’re not, I think it’s flat out f**ked up. It’s more than unfortunate.”
The UFC’s fighters aren’t the only ones to speak out about Covington’s comments. Several UFC sponsors like Reebok, Monster Energy and DoorDash also spoke out against the comments made by the former interim welterweight champion.