Colby Covington – Was It All Worth It?
We are in the aftermath of UFC 296 and Leon Edwards is still your welterweight champion of the world. On the other side of the spectrum is Colby ‘Chaos’ Covington. A polarizing figure, who turned many heads in the past week and in the lead-up to the championship main event.
The burning question and what separates two groups of people is: Did Colby Covington choose the right path, can we understand his actions and ‘feel’ for him? Let’s talk about the trash talk, that (now) infamous gimmick of his and try to separate what is a good ol’ provocation vs. a real low blow, that just goes off the rails and is bad for everyone.
The very beginnings – turmoil of the ‘Chaos’
As it’s very well documented by now, Colby Covington had a significant change in his style (personality-wise) and is now a completely different character than what we first saw from the former standout OSU wrestler and All-American.
We dive into this for context. What caused Colby Covington to stir off the path of a respectful, hard-working UFC competitor, was the company’s decision that his style is not marketable for the firm. As someone who devoted his whole life to this one thing by that point, Covington is filled with unexplainable rage and disappointment.
This is the point of the story where we can for sure feel for him and try to understand why he is willing to stoop so low today. One can only imagine. Putting all the eggs in one basket (as the villain of our story put it himself), then every ounce of hard work is erased. For what? People’s opinions? Especially people who don’t know you, your hopes and dreams?
Colby’s back is against the wall and we can kind of get inside his mind at this point. Understanding what is next to come will be an explosion of one man’s bottled-up emotions.
The act – what we had witnessed from this notorious gimmick
It’s October 2017. and Covington is about to go against Demian Maia, in Brasil. He was told that he is about to get cut by the UFC’s brass. His style of fighting wasn’t suitable for the company’s vision to promote future contenders. So Colby decides: “What the hell? Just go with it and see what happens!”
Previously, we saw some glimpses of Covington’s dark side. After some victories (Max Griffin, for example), Covington showed showmanship, bad blood and a different side of that blue-collar kid he was portraying most of the time.
In the fight week and on the scales one day before the fight – Covington tried to get into Demian Maia’s head, which immediately woke some fans to this new Colby. Maia has been well-respected for years in the MMA community, a soft-spoken, humble guy. He never had a beef with anyone, so what was Colby doing right there?
The post-fight interview is now legendary, for all the wrong reasons. Chaos’s dish out to the whole crowd of passionate Brazilian fans is what started the villain arc or we can say: what truly revealed Covington’s personality. After that, it all just kept growing and growing. From the funny nicknames to the darkest insults you will hear in sports.
In both love and war – everything goes
An Ancient Greek is saying that both in love and war – everything goes! But is this true, should it be this way or do we need to keep some human senses and look at ourselves in the mirror?
Great trash talkers throughout history, such as Muhammad Ali, Chael Sonnen, Conor McGregor, Mike Tyson – they all went very low at some points. We can say: “Alright, they are human, stuff happens.” But when someone builds a character around insulting the injured, or deceased and goes after people’s families… Well, that’s different.
The author remembers three instances where Covington completely lost the plot. First, after the Lawler win, going in at Matt Hughes after the UFC’s legend had suffered a near-fatal train accident. Whatever went on with Matt Hughes, the allegations and truths – that was uncalled for, but some of the hardcore dark comedy fans liked it.
The second and third instances are what stay in our minds, to truly reflect on Covington’s “trash talk” and character(s). Leading up to their first fight, Usman and Covington had a press conference, where Colby went to insult Usman’s former manager, a deceased person – Glenn Robinson.
Covington stated that Robinson would be watching the fight from hell. After Glenn’s daughters came out and asked Colby to apologize or at least stop talking about stuff in that manner – Covington doubled down in an interview with The Mac Life , where he stated that Glenn wasn’t a good person and he didn’t feel the need to apologize.
Before the UFC 296 fight, the All-American went for it again. Who follows the sport, a little above the casual level of interest, for sure knows about where Leon Edwards came from and about his family. Chaos again turned to burning people in the fire and struck a nerve with the champ, when stating that his father is now in a bad place.
A complete perspective on Colby Covington’s gimmick
It’s noticeable that there are two distant groups of people, divided between the outlook on Covington’s character. The ones who think it’s unacceptable to go for people’s families, especially the loved ones who have passed away. Then some believe Colby’s word of this is the Ultimate Fighting (not ‘feelings) Championship.
When we are honest with ourselves, we can admit that a good trash-talking, brash personality is what excites us all. Some more, some less. However, in the instance with Colby Covington, we truly have to draw the line and separate what is unsensible and keep people in check. Describe things for what they truly are.
In my honest opinion, the excuse of Covington ‘playing the character’ is not sufficient and it’s not the right thing, at all. Just going after some stuff, with no reason to do so is what is bad for the sport and for everyone involved. We need to put ourselves in the position of not only Colby Covington but the other side that is on the receiving end.
For example, what if someone insults my family or my loved one? After the fact, he comes out and says: “It was just trying to hype the fight up.” What is a natural reaction and will you immediately forgive that person? Especially when that person builds a whole character on those kinds of insults.
These are the questions that we need to ask ourselves and one more that will sum up the whole story: Was it all worth it for Covington? In most ways, probably. He has gained a lot of money, followers, 3 championship opportunities and is probably now set for life. But, at the end of the day – remember what the original goal was for this man.
Can Covington be satisfied with his career, ultimately?
A blue-collar, hard-working kid who was raised by a single parent wanted to beat the odds and become the UFC champion. He failed in his most important goal and that may sting worse than anything. Knowing that Covington is one of the most fierce competitors in the world and looking at his post-fight talk: he is not done yet and will scratch for more.
Given the fact that he is 35 now, the division is slowly changing, the new generation is coming up and we have guys like Shavkat Rakhmonov, who looks completely unstoppable in his finishing ability – it will be a true challenge for ‘Chaos’ to get another crack at the gold.
Some food for thought at the very end: Did Colby play the character? He said it himself, it’s his real personality, turned up several notches. Remember that this is the guy who got arrested in college and is a tempered, scrappy personality from the beginning. Was it all worth it: Turning it up to a 100 and possibly losing the human aspect?