Colby Covington’s fiery post-fight promo could land him in hot water with UFC brass.
On Saturday, the 29-year-old welterweight capped off a massive win over two-time title contender Demian Maia in the co-main event of UFC Sao Paulo by declaring Brazil to be “a dump” and its inhabitants to be “filthy animals.” The insults were consistent with comments that Covington had made about the country in the lead-up to the fight, but he may have crossed a line by using an event broadcast to drive his point home.
It certainly didn’t sit well with the fans in attendance who hurled garbage at Covington as he left the Octagon to make his way to the backstage area.
Speaking to the media afterwards, UFC senior vice president David Shaw let it be known that officials are aware of the situation and that they will make a decision on how to address Covington’s behavior soon.
“Overall, I thought the fan reactions throughout the course of the night were fantastic generally,” Shaw said at the evening’s post-show presser. “Brazilian fans are obviously very intelligent, very knowledgeable about the sport, very scrutinizing, and generally it was loud and energetic and boisterous the whole time.
“In terms of the fan reactions with Covington fighting, there’s no way for us to support any fans throwing items at any staff or any fighters. However, having said that, we are taking the situation with Covington very seriously. It’s already being reviewed by our code of conduct committee and it’s something that we are not very happy about.”
This isn’t the first time that fighters have used colorful language to hype up a matchup with a Brazilian athlete. Two-time UFC middleweight title contender Chael Sonnen targeted opponent Anderson Silva’s home country, infamously joking that while he enjoyed American technology and luxuries, “Anderson and the Brazilian kids are sitting outside playing in the mud.”
Conor McGregor also had strong words for Brazil when he was building up his fight with then-featherweight champion Jose Aldo. At a Q&A in Rio de Janeiro, McGregor boasted, “I own this town, I own Rio de Janeiro… if this was a different time, I would invade his favela on horseback and would kill anyone that was not fit to work, but we’re in a new time, so I’ll whoop his ass in July.”
Neither Sonnen nor McGregor were given any sort of punishment from the UFC, though it should be noted that their comments were aimed at their opponents as opposed to Covington who directly addressed the Brazilian audience on Saturday.
Shaw was asked if the situation could at all be compared to the recent controversy over Fabricio Werdum using a homophobic slur during a confrontation with Tony Ferguson at a media lunch (Werdum later apologized and agreed to do outreach in the LGBTQ community), but he declined to make any immediate statement on when or if Covington could be facing any sanctions.
“It’s not for me to say at this point what could possibly happen, but we’ll be reviewing it over the course of the weekend and early next week,” Shaw said.
Covington didn’t seem to be too contrite about his words on Twitter early Sunday morning.