Several UFC fighters have spoken out in recent days against controversial remarks made by Colby Covington at the weekend following his win over Tyron Woodley, but Dana White appears to be turning a blind eye to the matter so far.
“Who did you get a call from? Did you get a call from, freaking, your little tribe? Did they give you some smoke signals for you?” Covington ranted at the UFC’s Nigerian born welterweight champion Kamaru Usman on the UFC Fight Night 178 post-fight show. “You’re a joke, Marty Fakenewsman!”
Covington had also targeted Woodley, calling him a “terrorist” and stating that “he hates America” due to the former champion’s support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
While Usman took Covington’s rant in his stride, repeatedly reminding ‘Chaos’ that he had in fact broken his jaw during a TKO victory back in December of last year, other fighters have felt the need to speak up too and condemn the outspoken challenger for his racist remarks.
“That’s what got me, The UFC has said nothing about it, ESPN has said nothing about it,” UFC welterweight fighter Leon Edwards told MMAfighting.com.
“Letting it flow like it’s a normal thing to f**king say and do and it’s not. Your tribe and smoke signals and blah, blah, blah, and he’s calling Woodley a terrorist because of Black Lives Matter. All these statements he’s making is racist. There’s no other way to go around it.
“If it was the other way around, if a Black athlete was saying to a white athlete in that regards, people would report it straight away. I find it very weird that no one is stepping up and no one is saying anything. UFC isn’t saying anything about it. ESPN is allowing it to carry on.”
Sijara Eubanks was in agreement.
“Let’s be real, first and foremost,” Eubanks told ESPN. “It wasn’t ‘unfortunate.’ It was flat-out racist. It was racist. It was disgusting. It was quite frankly disappointing.”
And middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, who also happens to be of Nigerian descent, also branded Covington’s remarks as unacceptable ahead of his UFC 253 headlining clash with Paulo Costa on Saturday night.
“This guy has directly insulted my culture, my brother and many other cultures, and no one says anything,” Adesanya said. “But it just shows you a mirror. Shows you a mirror to you guys.”
Meanwhile, Dana White has appeared to be reluctant to be drawn into the matter and instead appears to favor fighters being able to speak their minds.
“These guys all have their own causes, things, they’re own beliefs,” White said at Thursday’s UFC 253 press conference. “We don’t muzzle anybody here. We let everybody speak their mind.
“I don’t know what he said that was racist. I don’t know if I heard anything racist that he said.”
When asked directly if the UFC is against racism, White became increasingly frustrated with the line of questioning.
“Yeah, of course,” White said. “Come on. I’m not going to play these games with you guys. Come on. If it’s racist? Yes. Of course (we don’t want that).”
Nevertheless, one of the UFC’s main sponsors, Reebok, has felt the need to speak out against Covington’s outbursts.
“Reebok is the uniform provider for the UFC, however we do not sponsor Colby Covington. We do not agree with the sentiments he expressed, and stand firm in our belief that Black lives matter. We stand with athletes and communities who are fighting for change.”