Did the UFC’s treatment of Colby Covington actually turn him into a sympathetic figure, at least for a moment? And should we be worried about T.J. Dillashaw’s cut to flyweight?
That and other pressing questions in this week’s Twitter Mailbag. To ask a question of your own, tweet to @BenFowlkesMMA.
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The thing that makes me most upset about this situation at welterweight is that it’s put me in a position where I have to defend Colby Covington. His public persona is ridiculous. His professed political beliefs are like my uncle’s Facebook feed come to life. He wears sunglasses indoors, for crying out loud.
But fair is fair. Covington won that interim title, and that should have earned him a crack at the actual champion.
Then again, you could say the same for Tony Ferguson (who also wears sunglasses indoors, but who is at least ridiculous in a fun way). He won an interim belt, only to have it taken from him when his injuries didn’t mesh with the UFC schedule, and now it’s unclear if he’ll ever get what he’s owed.
So yeah, interim belts are worthless in the UFC. And fighters seem to be realizing it. Remember when the UFC tried to get Brian Ortega to forego his actual title shot for a crack at an interim belt? He wouldn’t go for it, and he took some heat from the bass for that decision.
My hope is that, after this situation, fans will fully realize what’s what. The UFC only comes up with those belts because it thinks a little gold on the poster will convince us to buy the pay-per-view. If we make it clear that we can tell the difference between fool’s gold and the real thing, maybe it’ll finally stop.
Security: You can’t go in there!
Covington: Watch me …
Security: Hey! Dana, I’m sorry he just …
White: It’s OK, Barnabus. I’ll handle it. What do you want, Colby?
Covington: I want my (expletive) title shot, you bald (expletive).
White: Done. Is that all?
Covington: Wait … done? You mean you’ll give me the title shot? For reals this time?
White: Sure. You (expletive) got it.
Covington: Hold on, are you telling me the truth? Or are you just saying whatever’s most convenient in the present moment?
Covington: (Eyes darting side to side) I … I don’t even know what to believe.
White: Exactly. If it ever gets too confusing, just remember that you’re locked into this contract and trying to get out of it would cost you thousands of dollars as well as the best years of your career.
Covington: Huh. OK. So …
White: Barnabus will see you out.
First of all, you have a fifth favorite fighter? How deep does this list go? Are you tracking it on a spreadsheet?
Second, you had me right up until the end, when you advocated for getting rid of titles. I maintain that even with the current watering down of MMA championship belts across the board, the title is still a helpful device for keeping of track of who’s on top and who’s still chasing them. It’s a physical reminder of the hierarchy, and it mostly still works.
But I’m also tiring of the champ-champ thing. You’re right, no one is ever allowed to stay a double champ for long, so what’s the point?
That’s especially true this time, with T.J. Dillashaw claiming that he’s being paid to “kill” the flyweight division. Does that mean it will continue on if he loses? Are the fates of all over UFC flyweights depending on Henry Cejudo? Because that seems … weird.
All you’re doing with a set-up like that is telling me that I shouldn’t care about the division. And if that’s the case, why should I care about the belt?
That’s an interesting term, “free-ish.” Because, of course, FOX Sports 1 was never free. You pay for it with a cable subscription, and in order to get the whole bundle of FOX Sports programming you probably paid nearly $2 a month.
Maybe it just didn’t feel like you were paying that because you had already factored the cost of the cable bundle (which inevitably also charged you for other channels that you never watched) factored into your monthly budget.
One good thing about the rise of the streaming service era is that it allows us to pick and choose a little more. I’ve got to have HBO, but I don’t really need Encore. I might want ESPN, but I could not be less interested in the MLB Network. So if I can pare down my cable bill and redirect that money toward things I’ll actually watch, I’m all for that.
The bad thing is that we’re not all the way there yet. A lot of these sports and media companies still want to split our dollars and our attention across multiple platforms. Just look at the UFC headed into 2019.
You’ve got events on ESPN+, but also events and undercards on actual ESPN. Then you’ve got pay-per-views, plus maybe some pay-per-view prelims on Fight Pass. That’s four different things you’ve got to pay for and switch between just to have access to every UFC fight. That seems like the thing that’s going to have to change eventually.
If the UFC could give me one thing to pay for, on one platform that would show me everything, it could charge a relatively high monthly fee and I’d still think it was worth it to pay for it. Spreading it all out only encourages me to scrutinize the value of each expense.
Interesting that you note you used to watch that many games when your local sports team was good. That implies they aren’t so good anymore, and that the quality of their play affected your willingness to watch them.
It’s the same with the UFC. If the fight cards are strong and the match-ups are compelling, sure, I think a lot of people could get into weekly events. It’s when the UFC saves the good stuff for pay-per-view and feeds us content for content’s sake that fans start to wonder why they’re suddenly supposed to care about fighters they’ve never heard of.
I do like your idea of more mid-week events, though. Primetime on Saturday night feels like it should be reserved for really special fight cards. You don’t put the heavyweight title up for grabs on a Wednesday at 7 p.m., and we all get that.
At the same time, not all of the UFC Fight Night events we’ve seen were worth seven hours of our lives, stretching into the wee hours of Sunday morning.
Ben Fowlkes is MMAjunkie and USA TODAY’s MMA columnist. Follow him on Twitter at @BenFowlkesMMA. Twitter Mailbag appears every Thursday on MMAjunkie.
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Twitter Mailbag: Does Colby Covington deserve our sympathy now?