Colby Covington beefs with Jon Jones after boomerang incident with Fabricio Werdum
The brash UFC welterweight is on the fast track to becoming MMA's biggest heel
Rising UFC welterweight Colby Covington is making a case to become the biggest heel in all of mixed martial arts.
Less than three weeks after his star-making victory over Demian Maia and the controversial tirade afterward in which he called the Brazilian crowd "filthy animals," Covington has made plenty of headlines in Australia.
Just days before Saturday's UFC Fight Night in Sydney, Covington got into an altercation on the street with the card's headliner, former heavyweight champion and Brazil native Fabricio Werdum.
A portion of the argument was filmed live on Instagram by Covington; it featured a tirade of insults and homophobic slurs from Covington. But UFC featherweight Dan Hooker captured the rest on his cell phone from across the street, including a moment when Werdum appeared to throw a boomerang, which was enclosed in a plastic bag, and hit Covington in the face.
Both fighters provided opposite accounts of what took place. Covington claimed he was punched in the face. Werdum, in an interview with UOL, said Covington uttered the words "filthy Brazilians" as he walked by, causing Werdum to slap the cell phone out of his hands, which led to a kick from Covington.
On Thursday, the 29-year-old Covington went as far as pressing common assault charges against Werdum with the New South Wales Police Force. Werdum, 40, who will face Marcin Tybura in Saturday's main event, has yet to respond publicly since being charged.
Covington's battles didn't end there, however. The American Top Team fighter was called out by none other than Jon Jones, his former collegiate roommate at Iowa Central Community College.
"I despise racism, good job today @FabricioWerdum," Jones wrote on Twitter. "Dude had the audacity to call you a 'f-----' as he's backing up on Facebook live."
Covington, who went on to become an All-American at Oregon State, responded to Jones on Thursday with a pair of tweets referencing the former UFC champion's history of legal troubles and failed drug tests.
"Wow, a criminal condoning assault with a deadly weapon. Go figure," Covington wrote. He later added: "Using my name to stay relevant @JonnyBones? Don't you have another drug test to fail or an octagon to hide under you loser?"
Jones wasn't done and came right back late Thursday with a lengthy series of cryptic tweets, including these:
UFC released a statement Wednesday saying it was aware of the altercation and that it intended to "conduct a full investigation." The New South Wales police department also released a statement but did not identify either fighter.
Werdum's manager, Ali Abdelaziz, told ESPN on Thursday he could not confirm the assault charge.
"The plastic bag landed on his shoulder, and there was a boomerang in it," Abdelaziz said. "[Covington] kicked Fabricio first. He said he got punched in the face, where is the video of that?
"The kin just wants to make a name for himself. I think some of the stuff he is saying is borderline racist. But Fabricio is 250 pounds. If he had punched Colby in the face, he'd be knocked out or in a hospital."
In September, Werdum had to be separated from another smaller fighter, interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson, during an argument at a UFC 216 media luncheon. Werdum was caught on camera using a homophobic slur and was later disciplined by UFC, which could do the same to Covington.
UFC put out a statement after the Ferguson incident stating Werdum had agreed to perform community outreach within the LGBTQ community in Las Vegas. Although Werdum told the Brazilian website PVT on Wednesday that there was no punishment from UFC and "only rumors," Abdelaziz told ESPN that Werdum still plans to complete the outreach program.
Covington, who is in Australia but doesn't have a fight scheduled for Saturday, has done well to create a brash and potentially marketable persona that could see him talk with way into a title shot.
If his trash-talking shtick appears better suited for pro wrestling, there's little surprise. Covington took part in an Impact Wrestling angle during the buildup to the match between ATT teammates Bobby Lashley and Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal against Moose and UFC Hall of Famer Stephan Bonnar at Bound For Glory two weeks ago.
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