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Colby Covington details UFC’s ‘hostage negotiations’ for Kamaru Usman fight at UFC 244

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Colby Covington explains why his supposed UFC 244 title fight against Kamaru Usman fell through.

Colby Covington Kamaru Usman UFC 244 Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

There have been talks about a welterweight title fight between champion Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington for UFC 244 this November. The UFC, however, went another way and decided to book the “BMF” title fight between Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal to headline the annual Madison Square Garden card.

Usman never spoke about what happened, but on Monday, “Chaos” spoke with MMA Fighting to air his side of the story.

“What happened exactly was the UFC came to me and offered me a basic challenger’s rate,” he said. “I said no, I’m not challenging. I’m champion. I’ve never lost, I just defended my title. I brought in the Trumps. I got a tweet from [Donald] Trump, that’s like $3.5 million in marketing. If you break down the analytics of it, in itself, just to promote their show.

“They didn’t give me a negotiation. They said ‘take this or we’ll just move onto someone else’. That’s not negotiating. That’s bad business and if that’s how they want to do business, that’s their problem. That’s not my problem.”

Covington felt he was backed into a corner by the UFC, which he says urged him to “stand up for what is right.”

“They came with those hostage negotiations,” Covington said of the UFC. “They come and say ‘take this offer or we’ll just move onto the next person’. That’s not how negotiating works. I read ‘Art of the Deal’ from Donald Trump. I know how to work a deal and how deals work. They’re not going to take advantage of me and try to put me in a hostage position where they don’t give me any say or any room to negotiate. That’s not fair and it’s not right.

“I’ve put my life on the line for this company. Went to Brazil, said outlandish things where people literally wanted to kill me and I had gangs in favelas coming after me and they still want to come at me with this basic challenger, entry fee type money? I’m standing up for what’s right.”

Covington also has gripes with the Diaz-Masvidal booking, which he continues to crticize.

“They went from me to Jorge [Masvidal] to someone else and he turned all of them down,” Covington said. “The issue is not me. I want to fight, I’m ready to fight. I’m healthy to fight. It does bother me that they’ll go to a jobber and a journeyman like Jorge Masvidal and he’s so desperate and he’s so broke right now that he’s going to take any offer the UFC throws at him. He’ll take this basic challenger fee because let’s be honest, he’s 2-2 in his last four fights, he’s 5-5 in his last 10, so he’s going to take anything the UFC gives him.

“The UFC used Jorge Masvidal as a pawn and we all know I’m playing chess not checkers,” he continued. “They want to use Jorge as a little pawn to fight for the JMF — the journeyman mother-effing title against another scrub and jobber in Nate Diaz, who has a 50/50 record, 1-1 in the last three years, he’s a Stockton soy boy. They just used those guys as pawns against me and Usman.”

UFC 244 will take place on November 2nd. Also scheduled for the card is Darren Till’s middleweight debut against Kelvin Gastelum.