There was a lot of bad blood behind the Colby Covington-Tyron Woodley matchup at UFC Vegas 11, and that goes without saying. One of the points of contention between the two men is their stance on certain political and social issues of the current day.
Covington is an avid supporter of President Donald Trump, Woodley stood behind the Black Lives Matter movement, and both men were vocal about it. But it came to a point where Covington got a bit overboard with his tirades when he referred to Woodley as a “domestic terrorist sympathizer.”
UFC president Dana White, however, sees no issue with everything that transpired during the lead-up to the fight.
“One of the things we’ve never done here in the UFC is stop people from expressing how they feel about certain things inside or outside the Octagon,” White told reporters. “Even if it’s me. If it’s about me. Who’s more about free speech than we are? We literally let our people do or say whatever it is they do. It’s normal.
“Everything that happened this week, I f—ng saw it coming a hundred miles away. I could write the entire script for you, what would’ve happened at that press conference. You guys know it too. Plus, you heard everything already. You heard all the talk. These guys wanted to fight, they hate each other, the whole deal.”
But if there’s one instance when White admittedly felt everything go off the rails, it was during the now infamous UFC 229 festivities between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor. Even for White, it was “the darkest one ever.”
“When I left that press conference, I didn’t feel great,” White said.
“The Conor-Khabib thing, you didn’t see coming. I didn’t see that coming, it just… It was very weird and very dark. That’s one of the weirdest ones ever.”
Nonetheless, White isn’t planning to tell his fighters what they should and shouldn’t say.
“My point in saying that is we’ve never stopped anybody from expressing themselves and saying how they feel,” White explained. “My philosophy is always this is a fight. People are gonna say mean sh-t to each other. It’s like, ‘they shouldn’t be allowed to say that.’ They’re gonna f—ng punch each other in the face tomorrow.
“This is the fight game. I don’t believe in all that.”
Thanks to all the antics before and after the fight, UFC 229 remains to be the highest-selling pay-per-view event in company history with 2.4 million buys in the United States alone.