The bad blood between Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington might eventually boil over into a fight, but there’s at least one person involved with that potential showdown who would rather not see it happen.
Mike Brown, who previously worked with Covington and now serves as Masvidal’s head coach, would always like to avoid a confrontation between two fighters who train at American Top Team.
While fights between teammates are sometimes unavoidable, Brown prefers exploring other options, especially when it comes to a pair of lifelong ATT loyalists like Masvidal and Covington.
“The Covington thing is complex because it’s another guy who comes out of [American Top Team] so it has more complexities,” Brown explained when speaking to MMA Fighting. “I don’t necessarily like the idea of guys fighting each other. It doesn’t bother Jorge at all but I would prefer not to see that.
“I don’t necessarily like two American Top Team guys fighting each other. There’s a lot of complexities to it. Yeah, it’s a good problem to have but not necessarily great for the gym.”
It wasn’t long ago that Masvidal and Covington were considered close friends and key training partners helping each other rise up the ranks in the UFC’s welterweight division.
The relationship between them turned hostile in recent months, but that doesn’t take away the loyalty Masvidal and Covington have both shown towards American Top Team.
Masvidal first joined the Florida-based gym back in 2007, while Covington was recruited by American Top Team straight out of college and has never known another home during his fighting career.
Add to that, Brown says the dynamics inside the gym can change dramatically when two teammates are going to clash with each other.
“Each guy is maybe worried about the other guy’s coaches watching them train. Now you’re in a place where eyes are always watching you that are studying you,” Brown explains. “It’s not a good feeling.
“It’s not an ideal situation, guys fighting each other. In a tournament or for a belt, it can happen but it’s not something that I like to see.”
As much as Masvidal and Covington are clashing now, Brown knows both fighters essentially treat American Top Team as a church of sorts where they can leave their problems at the door and just focus on training.
It’s unlikely that the new “BMF” champion and the always polarizing Covington will suddenly start working together again, but Brown says the fighters remain part of the American Top Team family no matter how much they dislike each other.
“It’s a very tight family but it’s also very big,” Brown said. “Sometimes with families not everybody loves each other. Not everybody’s close.”
Assuming he can avoid the conflict that comes along with a potential fight against Covington, Brown says there are still plenty of options available for Masvidal when he’s ready to compete again in 2020.
“Of course the belt is really important and Conor [McGregor] is a really big fight, too,” Brown stated. “I’m a little split. I’m kind of with Jorge here. Maybe the best idea is just to take the money fight.”