Dana White dishes on why Colby Covington vs. Kamaru Usman fell through for UFC 244

NEW YORK CITY – As the audience cheered welterweights Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz during Thursday’s UFC 244 news conference, company president Dana White was asked about the absence of another set of 170-pound competitors.

When Colby Covington defeated Robbie Lawler at UFC on ESPN 5 earlier this year, all signs seemingly pointed toward a matchup with champion Kamaru Usman at UFC 244 in New York on Nov. 2.

However, when discussions with Covington (15-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC) and Usman (15-1, 10-0 UFC) fizzled, the UFC decided to follow the wave of fan-driven desire for a bout between Masvidal (34-13 MMA, 11-6 UFC) and Diaz (20-11 MMA, 15-9 UFC) instead.

Why exactly did the conversation among the UFC, Covington, and Usman hit a wall? According to White, former interim champ Covington held out for more money, which in turn brought negotiations to a screeching halt.

“So here’s the thing with that,” White said during the news conference at The Rooftop at Pier 17. “Obviously, you heard me say in interviews after (Diaz defeated Pettis) that was the fight I was going to make.

“So Colby Covington can say whatever he wants, but we make fights for a living. That’s what we do. We go after guys and we say, ‘This is next. This is the date. Do you want the fight?’ Obviously he wanted more money to fight Usman. We went back and forth.”

White also criticized Covington’s past track record and cited incidences where “Chaos” turned down fights against former champion Tyron Woodley.

“This is the second time he’s done it,” White said. “He had a fight in Dallas, too. So we said, ‘If you don’t want to fight Usman then we’ll give you Tyron Woodley’. He turned down Tyron Woodley, too. You either want to fight or you don’t. When Colby Covington is willing to fight, he’ll let us know.”

Recently, Covington stated the UFC’s unwillingness to negotiate has been the main roadblock. Covington stressed his efforts to go above and beyond to promote fights and the organization and said he doesn’t want to accept run-of-the-mill title challenger pay.

“My side of the story is, I’m ready to fight, I was ready to fight, but the UFC came to be with the basic challenger’s offer,” Covington said. “I’m a champion. There was no negotiation.

“They came and ran at me and said, ‘Here, take this, or leave it and we’ll pass it on to the next person’. That’s not fair negotiating and that’s not right. So I’m not going to take the first offer that you offer me.”

Additionally, Covington called the UFC’s treatment unfair and said he was sick of being treated “like crap.” He also briefly delved into the financial side of the organization.

“I have a world title and they still want to treat me like crap,” said Covington, who was stripped of the interim belt by the UFC. “They still want to not give me any room to negotiate and work. It’s not fair. The company is rolling in money. Thirty-percent growth last month. We all know the ESPN deal. They’re making so much money. They need to make this right.”

UFC 244 takes place Saturday, Nov. 2 at Madison Square Garden in New York. The main card will stream on pay-per-view after prelims on ESPN 2 and ESPN+.

To hear more from White on this situation, click on the video linked above.

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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