Why Brazilian manager Alex Davis is indifferent about Colby Covington's anti-Brazil sentiment

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Filed under: Blue Corner, News, Radio Highlight, Videos

Colby Covington’s Brazil-bashing routine caused such a stir that even some of his American Top Team stablemates turned on him.

But there’s one ATT member hailing from Brazil who is willing to defend the 170-pound contender: longtime MMA manager Alex Davis.

Davis was in Sao Paulo with many of his athletes when Covington turned his UFC Fight Night 119 meeting with Demian Maia into yet another opportunity to controversially gain attention. Clearly, it worked. And, while Davis finds it unfortunate that negativity seems to work so effectively toward boosting fighters’ names, he also can’t fault the welterweight for using a successful approach.

“As a member of American Top Team, I had Colby’s back there,” Davis told MMAjunkie Radio. “If anything would have been needed, I would have defended that kid. I like Colby. I don’t have a problem with him. And you know what? Colby went down there on a mission, and he accomplished it. He went there to gain notoriety, and he went there to beat Demian Maia. He did both. …

“I, personally, am kind of in a different position than all my Brazilian teammates – who are kind of upset about it and everything. He’s moving forward. People are talking about it.”

Covington (13-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) spent all of fight week throwing jabs at Brazil and its “filthy animals,” but things reached a boiling point on fight night. After taking a unanimous decision over Maia, “Chaos” had boos and actual objects thrown his way as he made his way out of the octagon (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

Despite an exec’s initial remarks about possible disciplinary action for the fighter, UFC President Dana White was later dismissive. Weeks after the incident, a still-unapologetic Covington traveled to Sydney to fulfill guest fighter duties and saw himself in the middle of a scuffle with Brazilian ex-champ Fabricio Werdum. Brazil seems to have played at least some part in it.

Other than a boomerang thrown his way, Covington’s antics also got him some heat from a few peers – including UFC champion Amanda Nunes and heavyweight vet Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, who’s actually managed by Davis.

In fairness, Davis does think Covington takes things “a little too far.” And the manager, who wouldn’t personally say such things about anyone’s country, wishes trash-talking wasn’t such a proven way of getting ahead in the UFC. But, at the end of the day, the game “is what it is” – and Covington is at least backing up his talk.

“It’s the second time he’s been in Brazil. It’s the second time he had things thrown at him and heard that he’s going to die,” Davis said. “So, you know what, put yourself in his position. He went out, won a great fight and then he said, ‘F y’all.’

“I like Colby personally. I don’t have a problem with him. So there’s where I’m at. He’s my teammate. I’m Brazilian-American (Davis was born in Brazil, but lived in the U.S. and comes from an American family), I love my Brazilians, I love my Americans, I’m ATT also, and he’s my teammate.”

To hear from Davis, check out the video above.

And for more on the upcoming MMA schedule, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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Kamaru Usman denies ducking Emil Meek, says Colby Covington refused to fight him

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DETROIT – As far as he knows, Kamaru Usman no longer has a fight booked. But, while that situation gets resolved, he’s going a few rounds outside the octagon with a couple of his welterweight peers.

Usman (11-1 MMA, 6-0 UFC) was supposed to fight Emil Meek (9-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) at Dec. 30’s UFC 219. Meek’s visa issues, however, soon cast some doubt as to whether the matchup would ever materialize. Eventually, Meek got his visa. But by then, Usman’s manager said, they had moved on to “mug bigger, scared fish.”

Meek kept on gunning for the fight, only to be violently rebuffed by Usman on Twitter. Speaking to reporters backstage at UFC 218, Usman elaborated on the situation.

“We knew months ago he wasn’t going to be able to get his visa, he wasn’t getting his visa,” Usman said. “So we were told, ‘Hey, we’re going to work on the visa, are you still willing to hang on?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll hang on.’ In the process, they were trying to find someone who’d step in right away. And then it came to a point where, officially, it was like, ‘Yeah, it’s not looking likely.’

“Because what am I supposed to do? Sit and wait three weeks out, four weeks out, training hard for a fight that might not happen? So they said, ‘officially, we’re going to pull him. And we’re going to offer it to some guy, to see if they’ll fight.’”

The offer, Usman says, was made to controversial welterweight contender Colby Covington – who remains unbooked after a big win over ex-title-challenger Demian Maia at UFC Fight Night 119.

“That’s the fight they really want to make,” Usman said. “It’s the fight that makes sense. And he declined, once again.”

Usman sees why Covington, who’s been avidly campaigning for a shot at champ Tyron Woodley’s belt, wouldn’t want to fight him. The problem, the No. 8 fighter in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA welterweight rankings says, is that No. 5 Covington was the one accusing Usman of doing the running not that long ago.

“It’s rough because he’s one of those guys who’s specifically been saying I’ve been ducking him, when that fight was never offered,” Usman said. “Now that the fight is being offered and he’s saying, ‘oh, no.’ Blatantly, three different occasions, he said ‘No, no, no.’

“I can’t understand why he wouldn’t take the fight. Well, in a sense I can – he thinks he’s next in line for a title shot. Which, it’s clear they’re not giving you a title shot. So hey, take the fight, at least prove to the people you’re the best, (and) you are next in line for a title shot.”

In light of Covington’s alleged refusal, Usman says he was told they would try to get him booked for January. And, in the interim, he came down with a bad flu that kept him in bed for a whole week and had yet to clear by the time he talked to reporters in Detroit.

Usman says he found out about Meek’s visa clearance as soon as he got off the plane, from social media.

“I’m like, goddman – it’s kind of too late now,” Usman said. “But it just kind of sucks that’s how things happen sometimes.

Usman wouldn’t commit to it, given he hadn’t had any official discussions yet. But, “as long as I know,” the fight with Meek at UFC 219 is off. The UFC’s website, though, still shows the bout on their event page.

Either way, Usman is not exactly happy with the way his would-be opponent framed the situation.

“Let’s be honest: look at the fight,” Usman said. “What about Emil Meek scares me that’s like, ‘Wow, don’t fight this guy’? No. Does he have big power, really? No. Can he outwrestle me? No. Can he outgrapple me? No. This was a, ‘stay busy, here’s a fight because no one else will fight you, here.’

“He’s kind of trying to make it seem like, ‘Oh, you’re trying to duck me?’ What do I have to duck? I’m asking for harder guys. How is that me ducking you? It makes no sense.”

To hear more from Usman, check out the video above.

And for more on UFC 219, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Alex Oliveira wants to knock out Yancy Medeiros at UFC 218, then hit Colby Covington in the face

Add Alex Oliveira to the list of Brazilians who’d like to teach Colby Covington a lesson about respect toward a nation.

Oliveira (17-4-1 MMA, 7-2 UFC) has a more immediate challenge ahead of him, as he prepares to meet Yancy Medeiros (14-4 MMA, 5-4 UFC) at Saturday’s UFC 218. And, following a tradition the Brazilian “Cowboy” has kept throughout his career, Oliveira’s not about to hand-pick who comes next should he win. But Oliveira would, of course, welcome the possibility of facing a ranked opponent.

If that person happens to be Covington (13-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC), who’s ranked No. 5 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA welterweight rankings? Well, that’s just two birds with one stone.

“I just want to hit him in the face, that’s it,” Oliveira told MMAjunkie. “Not just me, but many Brazilians want to. Even Americans don’t like what he did. To go into someone’s country and do what he did? It’s one thing to talk about your opponent, but to talk about the country? That’s just disrespectful to me – and to many other fighters.”

Oliveira, of course, refers to the not-so-flattering remarks made by Covington about Brazil and its people during and after a visit to Sao Paulo for a UFC Fight Night 119 bout with Demian Maia. Covington’s attacks toward the country have elicited all sorts of reactions from Brazilian fighters, from classic callouts to boomerang attacks.

While clearly peeved, Oliveira’s investment in the matchup is limited. First off, he’d be happy if basically any of his Brazilian peers got their crack at Covington. And then there’s the fact that he must first get past Medeiros, whom he meets in an FS1-televised preliminary bout at Little Caesar’s Arena in Detroit.

But Oliveira isn’t particularly worried about that, either. While he likes Medeiros’ fighting style, he believes his opponent is in for a rough ride. If Medeiros chooses to trade, Oliveira says, that’s great. If he wants to try to take it to the fence, that’s fine, too. Whatever happens, he believes his “heavy hand” will find a way.

“I don’t simply want to – I will knock him out,” Oliveira said.

Which is not to say Oliveira’s going to become reckless in his pursuit of a finish. The example of that balance can be seen in Oliveira’s most recent outing, a “Performance of the Night” win over Ryan LaFlare. While Oliveira was the winner with a second-round knockout, it involved overcoming a tough first frame in the mat.

For an outside viewer, it may have looked like the Brazilian was struggling with LaFlare’s wrestling. But, on his end, Oliveira was simply glad to implement a lesson he learned the hard way.

“I learned that in my fight with Donald Cerrone: You can’t go in there desperate to win the fight, desperate to finish or to brawl,” Oliveira said. “We have 15 minutes in there, you’ve got to stay calm. It’s what I did with LaFlare. He didn’t get anything done on top. I knew he’d be tired in the first round.

“He’d be back for the second, and I’d be in one piece. That’s it. Whenever he went in, which he did, he’d get a hard message.”

Oliveira thinks a similar fate might be in store for Medeiros: a second-round knockout. If that pans out, it will mean a fifth win among Oliveira’s six most recent outings – the remaining result was a no-contest opposite Tim Means, whom Oliveira would go on to submit later.

The Brazilian’s solid octagon record, which also features two post-fight bonuses, is made more impressive by the fact Oliveira has kept an active schedule of at least three octagon showings a year. Still, Oliveira doesn’t ask for much. As he said, he wouldn’t mind getting a crack at a higher-ranked opponent – or Covington.

But, ultimately, these are just bonuses.

“I want to stay active and keep fighting, because I never stop training,” Oliveira said. “If they give me a fight, right after, in Belem (UFC Fight Night 125, on Feb. 3), I’ll be incredibly happy. It’s been many years since I’ve been able to spend Christmas at home. This year, I will be able to. To be able to start off the year with a fight? Right on.”

For more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Twitter Mailbag: Where does Michael Bisping go from here, and does Colby Covington have a point?

Where’s the Bisping Show headed after Shanghai? Does running your mouth really warrant a boomerang to the neck? And is Bellator suddenly more fun than the UFC, or is it only in isolated moments?

All that and more in this week’s Twitter Mailbag. To ask a question of your own, tweet to @BenFowlkesMMA.

* * * *

How about someone around his age? And yes, I know Yoel Romero is around his age, but no, not him. It’d be a little too depressing to see Michael Bisping catch a jumping knee knockout in front of the U.K. crowd for his final fight. Plus, if he takes a bad loss, he might be motivated to continue in the hopes of writing a better ending for himself, and nobody wants that.

But it does matter if he wins or loses against Kelvin Gastelum, because it will change what it means to fight and potentially beat Bisping. Right now? It really means something. He just lost his title, sure, but he lost it to an all-time great. Beating him now still makes you a contender, so the fight would still make sense for just about anybody in the top half of the division.

If Bisping loses to Gastelum, however? Then he’s got two straight losses to two former welterweights, and his last fight is just a feel-good formality. That has to affect the UFC’s matchmaking calculation. You don’t want to give him a contender, because what if he wins? All you’ve done is knock off a potential title challenger with a glorified retirement party.

What you want for Bisping is another Bisping. You want someone old enough that it won’t feel like feeding time in the wolf pen, but also someone with a name. You want someone who’s nowhere close to a title, but still feels like a somebody.

Man, it’s times like these you wish Vitor Belfort wasn’t already booked.

What Colby Covington said on “The MMA Hour” this week was that Fabricio Werdum attacked him for exercising his right to free speech. He also compared Werdum to Adolf Hitler, just so he could be sure to hit all the notes of a terrible Twitter troll. But does he have a point?

Yes and no. We can’t go around hitting each other, either with fists or boomerangs, just because we don’t like the words coming out of one another’s mouths. If anything, this should be more of an imperative for pro fighters. Not only are they likely to be treated more harshly by the legal system if they use their skills on civilians (shoutout to Volkan Oezdemir), they’re also giving away the goods for free.

You don’t get paid to fight in the streets, and getting paid is what makes you a professional rather than a criminal.

But we should be careful giving Covington too much leeway under the guise of a gimmick. Pro wrestlers can say anything they want and then leave it behind once they set foot outside the arena, but that’s because we recognize them as a species of actor. Covington is representing himself when he’s on TV maligning an entire nation, so maybe he shouldn’t be too surprised when he’s held accountable for it.

After all, this was the goal, right? He wanted to make people mad, if only as a means of making them care. Well, mission accomplished. Now please accept this boomerang as a reward. As for Werdum, who apparently wants to be some kind of street enforcer of good manners, he can deal with the Sydney police. Somehow I’m confident that both men will manage to learn nothing useful from the experience.

First we’re going to have to trick Quinton Jackson into thinking that he’s been invited to participate in a video-game tournament with a large cash prize and free candy bars, and it just happens to be on the same night as his opening-round bout.

Then we have Shane Carwin hang around the Bellator offices, asking everyone about their weekend plans and barely pausing to let them answer before he informs them that he’s got nothing on the calendar himself. Nope, just totally free for the next several months. No plans at all.

After that, all we have to do is sit back and let nature take its course.

Why strip him when you can create an interim title, which the UFC has already done, and have it hold just as much legitimacy as the real thing would if you took it off Conor McGregor now?

Whether he has a belt around his waist or not is pretty immaterial at this point. McGregor is the biggest star in the sport, and the UFC has no leverage over him whatsoever. Good luck getting him to do anything he doesn’t want to do.

You’re not tripping, but you may be dreaming. All the new deal proves is that the UFC wants to keep Cris Cyborg around, and why not? As difficult as she can be, fans still want to see her. What’s yet to be determined is whether they really care if there’s a whole division around her, or if they’ll be content seeing a series of one-off women’s featherweight title fights.

Ask yourself this: If Cyborg retired tomorrow, would this still be a division that’s worth the trouble for the UFC? If the answer is no (and I suspect it is), the current strategy starts to make lot of sense.

Look, for all the criticism you can heap on Werdum for his behavior and for the company he keeps, you can’t say he’s ducking real competition. He was slated to fight Derrick Lewis before Lewis pulled out hurt at the last minute and left him with Walt Harris. Then he said yes to a short-notice fight against an unheralded but still deceptively dangerous opponent in Marcin Tybura a month later. Clearly, the guy wants to fight.

Does that mean he deserves another crack at the title? Not yet. If I’m the UFC, there’s no way I’m giving that shot to Werdum right now, and his lack of recent wins over top contenders is only a part of the reason why. Hitting a fellow fighter with a boomerang a few days before an event may not get you pulled from the main event, but it shouldn’t get you an immediate title shot either.

Quick, who’s the Bellator middleweight champion? How about featherweight? Or bantamweight? If you didn’t have to look up the answer to at least one of those, congratulations, you are the hardest core of all the hardcore MMA fans.

I agree that stuff like the Bellator heavyweight grand prix has a way of instantly grabbing our attention, which is nice. Bellator’s total willingness to get weird and flaunt it right in our faces (as opposed to the UFC strategy of chasing the quick buck but pretending it’s all legit) feels like a fun use of its role as MMA’s no. 2 promotion.

But outside of the wild and crazy stuff, that’s where Bellator struggles. It can go through weeks worth of events without offering anything that feels like truly must-see material. It does plenty with what it has, but it simply doesn’t have enough. Not yet, anyway.

Ben Fowlkes is MMAjunkie and USA TODAY’s MMA columnist. Follow him on Twitter at @BenFowlkesMMA. Twitter Mailbag appears every Thursday on MMAjunkie.

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Trading Shots: What should the UFC do about an uptick in fighters behaving badly?

From shoving referees to flinging boomerangs and homophobic epithets, UFC fighters haven’t exactly been on their best behavior lately. But when consequences are slow to appear, at what point do we need to examine the UFC’s approach to crime and punishment? MMAjunkie columnist Ben Fowlkes and retired UFC and WEC fighter Danny Downes discuss.

* * * *

Fowlkes: It was an eventful week outside the cage, Danny.

Down in Sydney, Australia, Fabricio Werdum hit Colby Covington in the neck with a boomerang that was, somewhat hilariously, still in a plastic bag.

Covington responded with a Facebook video of himself using the English version of the same gay slur that got Werdum in trouble a couple months ago, and that’s in addition to his ongoing verbal attacks on Brazilians, which is what started this mess.

Then on Sunday morning I wake up to news that Volkan Oezdemir has been arrested for battery shortly after being pegged as the next UFC light heavyweight title challenger.

All this comes, of course, in the shadow of Conor McGregor’s latest transgression, which involved leaping into the Bellator cage, shoving a ref, and then issuing an “apology” that mostly blamed that ref.

You know what all these incidents have in common, Danny? The UFC doesn’t seem to know what to do about any of them, at least not yet.

Consequences and repercussions are proving to be a tricky business for the MMA leader, and you can kind of see why. On one hand, rivalries and trash-talk and angry people paid to hurt each other are good business. But is there a connection between the UFC’s reluctance to punish anybody and what feels like an uptick in bad behavior from fighters gone wild?

Downes: I don’t know if I’d make that connection. True, the UFC hasn’t punished any of the fighters you mentioned (unless you include McGregor getting pulled from a fight card that we never heard he’d been booked on), but I think you’re attributing a larger problem to a few specific fighters.

Let’s look at some of the people in question. Werdum hasn’t received any discipline for his transgressions yet, so of course he’ll think it’s alright to throw a boomerang at somebody else.

I agree that there’s a chance that if he had received some type of fine/suspension in the past, he would be more wary of getting into confrontations, but that’s not a guarantee. If you’ll unapologetically support a Chechen dictator accused of multiple human rights abuses, I doubt your affinity for a change of heart.

Then we have Covington. He’s out there trolling anyone and everything. Either he’s willfully ignorant of his racist pronouncements, or he’s purposefully using them in his gimmick. Either way, I don’t feel like giving him any more attention.

Last but not least we have McGregor. We discussed this a little last week, but McGregor knows he has the leverage. Despite the UFC having its “best year ever,” it can’t afford to keep McGregor on the sideline. You think the UFC wants to teach him a lesson in humility if it means passing up on all that sweet McGregor money?

I know you’d like to see the UFC do something to enforce the supposed code of conduct, but I for one do not want to endorse a more heavy-handed disciplinary process. From Nate Diaz to Jason High and many other fighters in between, we’ve seen UFC discipline used to send a message against fighters that don’t tow the company line or have upset the brass.

If we give the UFC more discretion to punish athletes, won’t it lead to even more disparity in how the rules are enforced? You think the Endeavor era is beyond petty grievances?

Fowlkes: Seems to me that what you’re complaining about there is the uneven application of punishments, not the mere existence of them. And that’s a valid complaint. All are not equal in the UFC’s internal justice system, and they never have been.

Then there’s the issue of what the UFC deems worthy of punishment. Remember when Donald Cerrone made an unapproved addition to his Reebok fight kit? The UFC didn’t hesitate to hit him with what he described as a pretty serious fine. And even McGregor wasn’t immune from the penalty for blowing off pre-fight media obligations, as we saw when he got yanked from UFC 200.

You mess with the UFC’s money, there will be consequences. But what if you’re just out there acting like a jerk? What if that jerkish behavior veers into criminal territory?

That’s what surprised me about the UFC’s response to the Werdum boomerang incident (hereafter known as “Werdumerang”). The initial statement said that the UFC would be investigating whether or not it violated the “Athlete Conduct Policy.” Now, I don’t know if there’s a specific clause in there about hitting other fighters in the neck with a damn boomerang, but it’s hard for me to imagine how you could even have a code of conduct that something like that wouldn’t violate.

Seriously, we all saw the video. Werdum was standing there arguing with Covington and then decided to hit him in the neck with an aerodynamic stick. I don’t know how many brilliant detectives we really need in order to crack this case.

Let me ask you this: When you heard about this incident, did you entertain the thought, even for a second, that the UFC might pull Werdum out of his fight as punishment? Probably not. That’d be crazy, right? Just because a guy gets charged with assault outside the host hotel two days before the event, that’s no reason to scratch him from the headlining spot. Why, that’d be bad for business. Better to take your time with the investigation until after the show’s over and the money’s all been counted.

Why is it so hard to believe that, in the instant before he turned his souvenir into a weapon, Werdum ran through the same calculation in his head? And if he knew there was no way he’d lose his chance to fight and get paid, hell, why not find out if a boomerang can still fly inside a plastic bag?

Downes: You do realize you’re attributing a cold, calculated process of judgement to a man who threw a boomerang at another person, right?

You’re correct that many fighters (at least the high-profile ones) know they can get away with a certain level of misbehavior, but all the discipline in the world isn’t going to prevent impulsive people from doing impulsive things. What are the odds on Werdum picking on a bantamweight the next time he makes a public appearance? Obviously he has a hard time walking away from confrontations, and he’s not the only MMA fighter who would fall into that category.

You’ve complained about the arbitrary nature of the Nevada State Athletic Commission on multiple occasions. I fail to see how the UFC would avoid the same mistakes. That doesn’t mean that nothing should be done, but the current UFC structure is not equipped to handle these matters. If the company executives tried to take a tougher stance on conduct issues, they would bumble through it and open themselves up to lawsuits just like the NFL.

You think they’re going to risk the leverage they have in labor relations to teach Werdum that he should use his words (at least his non-homophobic ones) instead of his boomerangs? Not likely.

Perhaps all these disciplinary issues will hurt the bottom line and spurn some action. News stories about your athletes throwing boomerangs or using bigoted language are not good for the “brand.” You said that if you mess with the UFC’s money, there will be consequences. But none of the altercations we’ve discussed have done that so far.

Maybe the UFC needs to hire Matt Hughes back to get his crack team of policy strategists back together. More likely, though, what it needs is a panel to hear appeals and mete out punishments like other sports leagues. This can’t be some reactionary, spur-of-the-moment answer. It may seem more fulfilling to have someone unilaterally deal out discipline, but that doesn’t solve any longterm issues.

I do wonder, though, what type of discipline would satisfy us. MMA, by its nature, does not lend itself to effective judgments. You can’t suspend fighters for a few games (they only fight a couple times a year) and most of them don’t make enough money to make fines a fair method. Punishment and justice are two totally different things. We may desire the former, but we should aim for the latter.

Ben Fowlkes is MMAjunkie and USA TODAY’s MMA columnist. Danny Downes, a retired UFC and WEC fighter, is an MMAjunkie contributor who has also written for UFC.com and UFC 360. Follow them on twitter at @benfowlkesMMA and @dannyboydownes.

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Belal Muhammad called out Colby Covington because of ignorant '5th-grade trash-talk'

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SYDNEY – UFC welterweight Belal Muhammad scored the biggest win of his career and immediately knew who he wanted to fight next.

Following his split decision over Tim Means on Saturday at UFC Fight Night 121, Muhammad (13-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) used his octagon interview to put some heat on MMA’s current biggest villain, Colby Covington, calling him a “little coward” and promising a hospital visit if they run into each other on the street.

“I just want to get a top-15 guy, hopefully Colby Covington,” Muhammad, who’s won three straight, told MMAjunkie backstage at Qudos Bank Arena. “He’s sitting on the sidelines begging (UFC champion Tyron) Woodley for a fight, but Woodley’s hurt. So, there’s nobody else for him to fight. All these other guys are already booked.

“Colby Covington needs an opponent. I’m here, December 30th, let’s do it. What’s up?”

Covington (13-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) has been at the center of much controversy lately. It started last month after he defeated Demian Maia in Sao Paulo at UFC Fight Night 118, where he called the people of Brazil “filthy animals” during his post-fight speech. Covington hasn’t been the least bit apologetic for his racist remarks, instead only fanning the flames.

Covington’s ant-Brazil sentiment continued this week during an altercation with Fabricio Werdum that was caught on camera. The Brazilian heavyweight was charged with common assault for allegedly hitting Covington with a boomerang. Werdum said Covington was the instigator when he called Werdum a “Brazilian animal” as they crossed paths in the hotel lobby.

Near the end of his live-stream, Covington again went on an anti-Brazil tirade.

“F*ck Brazil. F*ck Fabricio Werdum. Little b*tch ass,” Covington said. “F*ck Brazil. A bunch of filthy animals. And they wonder why they get talked to like that. Because they’re a bunch of animals.”

It’s that kind of talk that Muhammad has no tolerance for. And that’s why he wants a piece of Covington inside the octagon.

“I got a lot of Brazilian fans, a lot of Brazilian friends. My coach is Brazilian,” Muhammad said. “When you disrespect the whole country like that, and it’s not even in a good way. You have like fifth-grade trash-talk. So it’s not even good trash-talk. It’s just being ignorant for no reason. When people talk like that, they deserve to get slapped. And I’m the guy to do the slapping.”

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Why does Fabricio Werdum have to make it so hard to root for him?

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What a week for Fabricio Werdum. What a couple months, actually. A recap, for those joining this career already in progress:

• In September, during a media appearance to promote UFC 216, the former UFC heavyweight champ got into it with current UFC lightweight champ Tony Ferguson, repeatedly using a gay slur before things nearly got physical between two men separated by about half a foot and 50 pounds or so.

• In October, he lost his original UFC 216 opponent, Derrick Lewis, due to a last-minute injury withdrawal. That left him in a fight with replacement opponent Walt Harris, whom he armbarred with a quickness, thereby reminding us that when a heavyweight is unranked, there’s usually a reason.

• After that, he accepted an offer to fill in for Mark Hunt in a fight against Marcin Tybura at UFC Fight Night 121 in Sydney. But when he got to the “Land Down Under,” he made news by beefing with UFC welterweight Colby Covington, whom Werdum hit with a boomerang on the sidewalk outside the host hotel. This was caught on camera and turned into an unintentionally hilarious local news story. Then he was charged with simple assault two days before his main event bout.

• But the bout went on, of course, giving Werdum a chance to go five rounds with Tybura at the longest UFC event in company history. He won a unanimous decision victory, then made his case for a title shot based more on his cumulative accomplishments than his recent ones. Did he not realize or just not care that his request comes at a time when he’s been in the news more for his misbehavior than his fighting? Unclear. “Vai Cavalho” just wants his title shot. What? Why’s everybody looking at him like that?

It’s a strange time for the 40-year-old Werdum. He’s got to be at least within sight of retirement, and clearly he wants another title for his trophy case before he hangs up the gloves. His last two wins came against unheralded opponents, but you can hardly blame him for that, since all he’s doing is showing up and fighting who’s there.

Then again, when you can’t bring him to lunch or to Australia without him making all the wrong kind of headlines, how eager can you be to give him another chance at calling himself your UFC heavyweight champion?

Even when he’s not actively doing wrong, he’s still the most famous fighter to keep stubbornly aligning himself with Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov, who recently threatened nuclear war while also voicing his support for the murder of gay people. Werdum is all too happy to keep taking his money in exchange for lending his own name to the virulently anti-gay dictator’s cause, and he seems baffled whenever anyone suggests that it might be a problem.

But if we’re wondering why Werdum can’t seem to get out of his own way, maybe we should look at the lessons he’s no doubt learned from all his recent experiences.

For instance, when he got all slur-happy with Ferguson? According to the UFC, his penance was “outreach” in the Las Vegas LGBTQ community, but there’s no indication he’s actually done it, and in fact he reportedly told a Brazilian media outlet that he hadn’t been punished at all.

He’s unlikely to get off so easy for his boomerang attack, if only because a) it was caught on camera, and b) the local police already are involved. Even so, the initial response from the UFC has been non-committal. It’s still investigating, said Dave Shaw, the promotion’s vice president of international content. It’s going to try to determine whether either Werdum or Covington violated the “Athlete Conduct Policy.”

If hitting someone in the neck with a boomerang somehow didn’t violate that policy, that in itself would be pretty newsworthy.

Then there’s the whole buddying up with a violent dictator and accused war criminal thing, which doesn’t seem to bother the UFC in the least. These independent contractors are apparently free to pick up any sponsors they want outside the cage, even if it means shouting out a warlord’s MMA team on a UFC broadcast, as Werdum did in Sydney.

Even if there aren’t going to be any significant consequences from his employer, now might be a good time for Werdum to think about what kind of fighter he wants to be known as.

He’s got to be nearing the end of his run in MMA. There was a time when he was the guy who beat the great Fedor Emelianenko. Then he was the guy who beat high-elevation Cain Velasquez for the UFC title.

But now? Seems more and more like he’s the guy who gets harder to root for the more you know about him. And while that might not have been his first impression in this sport, it could end up being his lasting one if he isn’t careful.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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UFC exec: Conclusions on alleged Fabricio Werdum assault of Colby Covington premature

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SYDNEY – The UFC is taking its time in determining what happened during the altercation between Fabricio Werdum and Colby Covington.

Werdum, 40, was charged this past week with common assault for allegedly throwing and hitting Covington, 29, with a boomerang outside the Hilton Sydney, which served as the host hotel for UFC Fight Night 121.

The UFC’s initial response in a statement was that it would investigate to determine if either fighter broke Athlete Conduct Policy regulations. According to vice president of international content Dave Shaw, that investigation is ongoing.

“From a company standpoint, we’re still collecting as much information as we can,” Shaw said in a press conference at Qudos Bank Arena following UFC Fight Night 121. “We’ve spoken to Werdum and his team. We spoke to Covington. We spoke to the hotel security. We spoke to police.

“So we are not at a point to make any conclusions yet. It’s just too early. There’s still a process that we need to go through. And, listen, at this point, it’s in the hands of the New South Wales Police. I think Werdum is going to have some conversations in the next few weeks at least with them.”

The encounter between Werdum and Covington took place Wednesday (Thursday locally), and parts of it were captured in two videos.

Werdum told MMAjunkie the incident started in the hotel lobby, where he crossed paths with Covington, who called him a “Brazilian animal.” During a live-stream, Covington claimed Werdum punched him, which Werdum denied. Werdum did not make mention of the alleged assault with the boomerang, which was filmed separately and posted to Facebook.

Covington ended his live stream with racist remarks, calling the people of Brazil “filthy animals.”

“F*ck Brazil. F*ck Fabricio Werdum. Little b*tch ass,” Covington says. “F*ck Brazil. A bunch of filthy animals. And they wonder why they get talked to like that. Because they’re a bunch of animals.”

Werdum, who was victorious in Saturday’s FS1-televised main event against Marcin Tybura, is expected to appear in court on Dec. 13.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Belal Muhammad calls out Colby Covington, threatens hospital visit if they run into each other

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Belal Muhammad had a stiff test and a close fight when he met Tim Means at UFC Fight Night 121 in Sydney, Australia, but after getting the split-decision victory, Muhammad wasted no time angling for another newsworthy name in his post-fight interview.

When asked by UFC commentator Dan Hardy if he had an opponent in mind for his next bout, Muhammad was quick to mention a fellow welterweight who’d been sent home from Sydney after a much publicized run-in with headliner Fabricio Werdum earlier in the week.

“I definitely got someone in mind,” Muhammad said. “There’s a little coward I saw earlier this week by the name of Colby Covington, out here talking trash about other people’s countries,” Muhammad said. “I don’t like that, man. I’m from Chicago, dude. We’re both 170 (pounds). Meet me in the cage. Because if I see you on the street you’re going to the ICU.”

Muhammad was referring, of course, to Covington’s remarks about Brazil both before and after his fight with Demian Maia in Sao Paulo. It seems that calling the residents “filthy animals” not only infuriated Brazilians like Werdum, who attacked Covington with a boomerang earlier in the week, but it also made him a target even for fellow Americans like Muhammad.

And because he apparently values specificity in his threats, Muhammad made sure to even name the wing of the hospital (the intensive care unit) where he plans to send Covington if they encounter one another outside the cage.

Of course, it’d probably be more profitable and less legally sticky if they confined their action to the cage, especially since Covington seems like he might be feeling a tad litigious just now.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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UFC Fight Night 121 results: Belal Muhammad takes split from Tim Means, calls out Colby Covington

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In a razor-close fight, Belal Muhammad took a split decision from Tim Means for arguably the biggest win of his career. Then he called out MMA’s newest villain, Colby Covington.

Muhammad (13-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) took a pair of 29-28 scores, while Means (27-9-1 MMA, 9-6 UFC) got a dissenting 29-28 of his own. In his post-fight interview, Muhammad said he wants a fight with Covington based on Covington’s recent disparagement of Brazil and Brazilians. (Muhammad was born in Chicago and is of Palestinian descent.)

The welterweight bout was part of the main card of today’s UFC Fight Night 121 event at at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. It aired on FS1 following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Muhammad went to the center and kicked right away. But Means fired back with punches and landed a stiff left. He pushed Muhammad to the outside. Muhammad landed an inside leg kick, then a right hand. A minute in, Muhammad came forward and landed again. A means straight left was on the mark, but Muhammad got inside for a right hook about two minutes in. Muhammad went to the body with a right, then cracked Means with a left hand.

With two minutes left, Muhammad drilled Means with a right hand. Means kept pushing forward, though, trying to use his size and reach advantage to the utmost. But again, Muhammad smacked him with a right. With 30 seconds left, Muhammad drove in for a takedown, but bailed on it. He just missed a spinning back fist before time ran out.

Muhammad landed a left, then overhand right early in the second. Forty-five seconds into the round, Muhammad went after a taekdown and got it. He had to fend off a Means choke attempt, but did so easily and had top position for a moment on the canvas before moving back to his feet and letting Means up. Means fired his right jab out repeatedly and tried some teeps for good measure. But Muhammad’s left jab was working, too.

Muhammad landed a front kick, but had his head popped back by a Means left. Muhammad slipped with two minutes left, but Means couldn’t take advantage and Muhammad was right back up. Means kicked high with a minute left, but Muhammad blocked it. Not long after, Muhammad tried a takedown, but couldn’t get it. Muhammad had a sizable mouse under his left eye, but the fight was extremely close in the striking department.

A low leg kick from Means spun Muhammad around on his feet. Means tried to kick up high, but it wasn’t there. Muhammad tried a head kick of his own 90 seconds in. Means tried a takedown, but Muhammad stuffed it, showing that each fighter was desperate for something that might put them over the edge with the judges in a razor-close fight. A Muhammad head kick was just barely off the mark, and he tried a takedown on top of it. But Means stayed upright and they reset with 1:45 left.

Muhammad popped off a 1-2, then shied away from a spinning kick from Means. With a minute left, Muhammad moved away from a Means right, then landed his own combination. Muhammad cracked Means with a right late in the fight, then stayed away from a Means kick and left the judges with a tough call to make.

Muhammad ran his streak to three and has won four of his past five fights. Means heads back to the loss column after a June win over Alex Garcia. He has dropped two of his past three.

Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 121 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

(MMAjunkie’s John Morgan contributed to this report on site in Sydney.)

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie