Colby Covington, Racism and the UFC

Colby Covington
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - SEPTEMBER 19: Colby Covington poses for a portrait after his victory during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on September 19, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Todd Lussier/Zuffa LLC)

Following his dominant win at UFC Fight Night 178, main eventer, Colby Covington went on a foul-mouthed rant, aiming racial slurs at the welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman and calling the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement a ‘joke’. We all know what we’re going to get with Covington, a cringy, rehearsed and often poorly thought out attempt at trash talk. What we don’t expect is for him to throw racial slurs at Usman during a heated argument. You can see the whole exchange below.

Chaos

What is most disappointing is that Colby Covington is legitimately a world-class fighter. He holds a pace few can live up to, he has high level striking, high level grappling and has beaten some of the biggest names in the division. He doesn’t need to throw racist comments Usman’s way to sell himself. People tune in to see PPV stars like Ronda Rousey and Jon Jones, not because of their personalities as such, but because of their skill in the octagon.

Off the back of a call from the President, Covington got into a heated argument with Usman and said: ‘Who did you get a call from? You get a call from, frickin’, your little tribe? They give you some smoke signals for you?‘.

Say what you want able creating ‘needle’ between you and your opponent, there is no place in the sport for racism. What’s more, the likelihood of Covington getting any retribution is almost nil. He has (multiple times) gone too far without any consequences.

So, do the UFC ‘put up with’ Covington’s racism for the sake of him selling PPV’s? He also went on a rant at the post-fight press conference, calling the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement a ‘joke‘. The UFC is clearly supporting the BLM movement, as we saw on May 31st as they broadcast a tribute to George Floyd.

When does it go too far? Arguably it already has. No one wants this to tarnish the sport, but non-MMA fans will just read the headlines and see that the UFC are giving Colby Covington a platform to air his views.

UFC Champions

If we take a quick look at the UFC champions in all weight divisions, we can see just how much diversity there is across the roster.

Women’s strawweight – Chinese champion
Women’s flyweight – Born in Kyrgyzstan to Ukranian family
Women’s bantamweight and featherweight – Brazillian born

Men’s flyweight – Brazilian champion
Men’s bantamweight – Russian champion
Men’s featherweight – Australian born, father from Macedonia, mother from Greece
Men’s lightweight – Russian champion
Men’s welterweight – Nigerian born
Men’s middleweight – Nigerian born, New Zealand native
Men’s light heavyweight – Vacant
Men’s heavyweight – American born to a Croatian family

This alone proves just how much diversity the UFC has in their champions alone. This doesn’t highlight the likes of Jairzinho Rozenstruik, born in Suriname, Yorgan de Castro, from Cape Verde or Roque Martinez, from Guam. This only touches on the heavyweight division and proves how much diversity there is in the UFC.

Next Steps

Addressing the issue has to be a priority. No one should be allowed to get away with racial slurs, even if he doesn’t truly mean them. If it is just to sell a potential fight with Kamaru Usman, it needs to be stopped. The quicker the UFC brass gets involved and highlight that this isn’t acceptable, the quicker it will stop.

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