“Until they give me what they promised and hold up their word, I’m not doing anything for them,” Covington (14-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC) today told MMAjunkie. “They’re going to have to give me a title shot or release me.”
Covington, who was stripped of the interim belt this past July, alleges Woodley’s upcoming fight against Kamaru Usman (14-1 MMA, 9-0 UFC) at UFC 235 isn’t retaliation for declining a UFC 228 headliner with Woodley (19-3-1 MMA, 9-2-1 UFC) due to nasal surgery. Instead, he claims it’s the result of a “power play” between the promoter and Usman’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, whom he said are “working behind the scenes and doing some shady, corrupt (expletive).”
Covington declined to make specific allegations about the UFC and manager, saying only they would soon come to light.
Reached for comment, Abdelaziz told MMAjunkie, “Everybody says I work for the PFL. Now, I’m working for the UFC. The job I really want to get is working for Bellator.”
The UFC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Covington said he was promised a shot at the title this past November and this month at the ill-fated UFC 233 event. Both times, he said, Woodley (19-3-1 MMA, 9-2-1 UFC) was ruled out by injury. His relationship with the UFC soured over the past two weeks when he was informed via his longtime manager Dan Lambert that Usman would get the title shot. He’s since requested a meeting with UFC President Dana White to no avail.
“This is what the UFC does,” he said. “You win something, you do whatever, they promise you you’re going to get this. They don’t put it in writing. They promise you, because it helps them do stuff like this, so they can do shady deals. They just rip everything up. They’re just lying to me. They try to push their own narratives, and it’s not fair. The narratives are a bunch of lies and a bunch of (expletive).”
The No. 2 fighter in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA welterweight rankings and UFC rankings, Covington cited his ranking and polls that said he is the overwhelming favorite to next fight for the title.
“Dana White, he meets with everyone else,” he said. “He met with Usman when Usman’s boring, and that fixed their relationship. I asked for a meeting with him, and he won’t even talk to me. So you know what? I’m going to find Dana White, because he’s not a hard guy to find. I’m going to find Dana White, get in his face, and we’re going to see what he has to say on why this is happening. I’m going to get an answer out of him.”
Previous fighters who’ve battled with the UFC have often found themselves in contractual limbo, unable to get out of their contracts when the promotion extends them for turning down fights. Covington suggested he could simply be let out of his contract and end the conflict.
“I have a belt,” he said. “I went to the White House with the sitting president. I’ve done a lot of great things for my career. If they want to freeze me out, no big deal. I’ll go somewhere else. I can go to WWE. I can find other things to do.
“I’m a personality now. That’s what you don’t understand. I don’t need the UFC. I can go make money other places. I don’t need the UFC. The UFC needs me. And if they want to do business, they better come back and be a man of their word when they do business with me. I know what I deserve and what I’ve earned, and what they’ve promised me for months. I’m standing my ground.”
Covington has made himself into a star by winning big fights and talking heaps of trash to fans and fighters. But for anyone celebrating his downfall, he pointed out that everyone loses out when the UFC unfairly wields its power.
“All the fighters out there who are laughing at me or trying to be like, ‘This is awesome – Colby’s getting (expletive),’ because everyone hates me, obviously, you guys should take a lesson,” he said. “I got a belt. I went to the White House. What have you guys done? When you guys get into this position, what do you think they’re going to do to you? If people don’t start standing their ground now, they’re going to be used and abused and thrown to the back of the line.”
Despite his persona as an avid follower of Donald Trump, who’s tried to weaken the power of federal labor unions by making it easier to fire poor performers, Covington said his recent interactions with the UFC have made him more sympathetic to recent efforts at collective bargaining.
“Imagine the team that won the AFC championship, you think they’re not going to the title game just because the boss doesn’t like them? Just because Roger Goddell doesn’t like (Tom) Brady because of ‘Deflategate’? No,” he said. “They won the AFC, they’re going to the championship game. So yeah, I would definitely be more in favor of a fighter’s union.”
But first, he wants an answer from his promoter.
“I’m calling their bluff,” he said. “I know they’re bluffing me, and if they’re not, I’d be happy if they did something else, because it would be the best decision for me. I’m not like these other fighters that are yes men. They’ll do whatever the UFC says. I’m not that guy. I do what I want on my terms, and I make the fans happy. I put on a good entertaining show every time. People want to see me, whether people are booing or cheering. But it’s loud – it’s very, very loud.”
For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.
- Watch MMAjunkie Radio here (8 p.m. ET) with Colby Covington, Jorge Masvidal
- The Break: Jon Jones' conundrum, Woodley vs. Usman confusion, and is T.J. Dillashaw OK?
- 19 fights on our MMA wish list for 2019
Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Colby Covington rails at UFC over title snub, vows to confront Dana White