Colby Covington ignited a firestorm in the MMA world this past March when he took aim at UFC play-by-play commentator Jon Anik.
Speaking to MMA Fighting, Covington attacked Anik for his words in support of UFC welterweight contender Belal Muhammad following the announcement of Covington as the division’s next title challenger. Covington even invoked Anik’s children into his callout, causing widespread outcry for threatening a fan-favorite, non-fighter UFC employee.
“Jon Anik, dude, I don’t want your kids to grow up without a dad,” Covington told MMA Fighting this past month following UFC 286. “Just realize you live in Boca [Raton], I live in Miami, motherf*****. You’re not too far from me. So you better shut your f****** mouth. You poke the bear? Now you get the bear that comes after you.”
Anik addressed those comments Friday in an interview with Morning Kombat.
“I think you can argue he crossed the line, but I never felt particularly threatened,” Anik said of Covington. “More so I felt the support from Jorge Masvidal and Jamahal Hill and a lot of other athletes, and I certainly appreciate that. I don’t know that you need to inject anybody’s kids into the equation, and there will come a point in time on Snapchat or somewhere else where my 11-year-old daughter is going to come across that clip and there will be some explaining to do. But by and large, Colby and I are good.
“We have addressed it privately. We didn’t talk, we messaged each other. And it’s interesting because I’ve tried not to lean into it, right? I just leaned into it a little bit there, but for me, ultimately there were two parts of that navigation when he said what he said. First of all, what did I say that has upset the high-profile professional athlete? I’ve got to figure that out.
“Did I say something? Did I analytically go a little bit too far with my editorialization of the welterweight championship pecking order?” Anik continued. “Right? So once I realized that, eh, seems like his beef is really just that I gave Belal Muhammad a platform, and I didn’t really say anything that sensational, then you can address what he had said. And if I’m being honest, it was Colby in character for me. When I first saw the clip I thought nothing of it, and then my phone got pretty noisy and I thought more of it as the day went on.”
When asked if anyone from the UFC’s head office contacted him regarding Covington’s comments, Anik said they had not.
Anik ultimately called UFC 287 this past weekend in Miami without incident, despite Covington being in attendance. He said Covington’s words have left him more concerned with any ancillary figures around “Chaos” than with the former interim champion himself.
“This was the first time that I can recall that it felt very WWE to me, as a UFC play-by-play guy,” Anik said.
“Certainly, I’ve been more off-put by maybe some of Colby’s cronies, who are like, ‘You don’t have to worry about him, but now maybe it’s me.’ But there have been high-profile athletes that have taken issue with what I have said, and I try to bury the hatchet and either stand by what I said or apologize. But there’s not a show that goes by that someone is not upset with something, fighter or coach. It’s the world in which we live.
“But what I wrote to Colby was, I just need to know that I still have your respect enough to do my job,” Anik added. “Because I don’t need him to go to the fight meeting, but I need him to allow me to call the fight.”