After winning the interim UFC welterweight title at UFC 225 in a hard-fought, five-round battle against Rafael dos Anjos, Colby Covington made an appearance on Fox Sports’ post fight show. Things went quickly off the rails.
Covington started the interview by taking broad verbal swipe at the hosts, saying, “All my haters in one studio, I appreciate it guys,” going on to claim that they were likely preparing to make excuses for RDA’s loss. Then he took a little bit more personal jab at one co-host in particular, and the coach that host shares with dos Anjos. “And Michael Bisping, I thought you said your coach Jason Parillo was good.”
Although he may be formally retired from fighting these days, Bisping was no less ready to get into a war of words.
“No one’s making excuses, Colby. You fought a good fight. Why are you so defensive? Why are you gonna be a prick?”
And while the former middleweight champion may not be wrong – after all Covington’s tirade about RDA and Parillo came more or less unprompted – to the ears of veteran UFC commentary team member Jon Anik, Bisping’s handling of the situation was way out of line.
Was disgraceful. It’s Colby’s night and moment. Pretty stunning that they’d allow an analyst to steal his shine.— Jon Anik (@Jon_Anik) June 10, 2018
Not sarcastic at all. I was appalled. Not the analyst’s job to antagonize a fighter who has just won a UFC title.— Jon Anik (@Jon_Anik) June 10, 2018
Respectfully disagree. Colby’s opening comment had levity... ‘all my haters in one place, etc.’ and Mike called him a prick right outta the shoot. Absolutely love @bisping and he knows it. Just calling this one like I see it. Enjoy your Sunday.— Jon Anik (@Jon_Anik) June 10, 2018
It’s a stylistic clash the UFC has run up against on several occasions, as they continue to put active – or, in this case, very recently retired – fighters on TV for analysis and color commentary. While many can provide valuable insights into the game, fighters tend to carry a lot of personal biases and relationships with their fellow athletes into their work. And sometimes things trend toward the unprofessional because of it.
Whatever his opinion on how the interview was handled, however, Anik eventually felt the need to apologize to Bisping for his own antagonistic take on the ‘Count’’s approach. Even admitting that, at the end of the day, he probably should have kept his mouth closed. Anik issued a formal statement to Bisping via Instagram.
“Felt the need to issue a quick statement due to the response to my comments on the post-fight show interview between Colby Covington and Michael Bisping,” Anik wrote on the social media platform. “I replied to a tweet and just shouldn’t have made my opinion known, especially in a disrespectful way. While I did think parts of the interview lacked professionalism and many of you disagree with me as to what exactly an analyst’s job is in that situation, I regret my word choice to call it ‘disgraceful’ and I apologize to @mikebisping for that. Had I been more thoughtful, perhaps my comment wouldn’t have elicited such a response. As anyone who listens to my podcast can attest, I have as deep a respect for Mike as a friend, fighter, and analyst as anyone in the game.”
In the meantime, Covington will continue his interim title media tour and probably get a lot more fighters and fans riled up in the process. And very likely inspiring a few more awkwardly antagonistic interviews.