Colby Covington doesn’t need to get along with his boss in order to become the best welterweight in the sport.
The always outspoken former interim champion has endured a tumultuous and volatile relationship with UFC president Dana White for more than a year after several very public spats. From being stripped of his interim title just three months after winning it because sinus surgery would delay his return to action to being passed over in favor of Kamaru Usman for a shot against then champion Tyron Woodley, Covington’s issues with White are quite long and complicated.
Covington even went as far as live streaming a confrontation with White inside the Palms Casino in Las Vegas earlier this year to ask him why Usman got a title fight while he was still sitting on the sidelines.
More recently, Covington lashed out while saying that he didn’t want White to put the belt around his waist should he win at UFC 245 in December and that set off another series of inflammatory comments between fighter and promoter.
When he finally ran into the UFC president ahead of a press conference in early November, Covington says they were cordial enough towards each other but he’s not looking to rebuild whatever bridge that has already been burned to ashes by now.
“No, I haven’t talked to him at all,” Covington relayed when speaking to MMA Fighting. “The only time I talked to him was right before the press conference before I went on stage I was like ‘hey Dana, how you doing?’ and you could tell he was a little afraid of me. He was like ‘how’s it going, how you doing?’ and I was just like I feel good. That was basically it. He went on the stage and we did the press conference and that was it.
“That’s the only words we’ve spoken to each other. I don’t have anything nice to say about him and I know he has nothing nice to say about me ever.”
While there are a multitude of issues between them, the top-ranked welterweight contender’s biggest problem lately has been White’s jabs at him about why he didn’t end up headlining UFC 244 in New York in the fight with Usman.
“We went back and forth—this is the second time he’s done it. He had a fight in Dallas too [at UFC 228],” White said when addressing Covington back in September. “We said if you don’t want to fight Usman, we’ll give you Tyron Woodley.
“He turned down Tyron Woodley, too. You either want to fight or you don’t. When Colby Covington’s ready to fight, he’ll let us know.”
A deal eventually got done for UFC 245 on Dec. 14 but Covington refutes White’s claims that he was just turning down fights and the onus was on him for the matchup against Usman to happen at UFC 244 instead.
Covington claims Usman was creating just as much of a problem for the promotion but White failed to toss him under the bus when asked why the fight didn’t happen on Nov. 2 in New York.
“It’s sad that he has that type of platform where people believe everything he says and they’re so gullible,” Covington said about White. “They just believe what they read, they don’t believe what they see. He wants to blame me but what about “Marty Fakenewsman”?
“He didn’t accept any fight. He wouldn’t fight me. He wouldn’t fight that journeyman Jorge Masvidal. He wouldn’t fight Leon Scott (Leon Edwards). He wouldn’t fight anybody.”
Covington had previously revealed that the initial offer he received to fight Usman was for less money up front than what he earned back in August when he defeated Robbie Lawler at UFC on ESPN 5, which immediately put him at odds with the promotion.
“Why is it put on me that I didn’t want to fight when you’re getting me a petty, bullsh*t offer when I built this thing up into something bigger than life. It’s a spectacle,” Covington said. “I brought out the president and I wasn’t even fighting.
“It’s sad the narrative he tries to run and what’s even sadder are the fans and the people who actually believe anything that comes out of his mouth.”
Covington obviously isn’t trying to mend fences with White ahead of the biggest fight of his career and he’s not backing down from anything he’s said about the UFC president or will likely continue saying in the lead up to UFC 245.
“He’s always making up lies about me in the media, making these false and fake narratives. I’m not afraid to call a spade a spade,” Covington said. “Whether I’m brutally honest or not, people should recognized how real I am and people should now I always speak the truth when I talk in interviews.”