LAS VEGAS — While fireworks were certainly expected at Thursday’s UFC 272 pre-fight press conference, the sheer madness of what unfolded is probably best described by Colby Covington’s fighting moniker: “Chaos.”
As Covington (16–3 MMA, 11–3 UFC) and bitter rival Jorge Masvidal (35–15 MMA, 12–8 UFC) took the stage, the usual UFC security detail was in place to ensure no punches were thrown until Saturday’s event—but so, too, were four officers from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
Before the first media question could even be presented to the two welterweight headliners, expletives were already being thrown back and forth. Masvidal also brought a gold briefcase to the stage, which he opened up to reveal a limited edition Panini trading card of Covington. “Gamebred” then said the Covington card was up for sale to the highest bidder “because I’m always going to make money off this b----.”
Covington, who has long boasted of his friendship with Donald Trump, countered with a bizarre question of Masvidal’s political knowledge, asking him to explain the process in which a bill becomes a law.
For the next 20 minutes, the two talked over each other, largely ignoring any questions and instead hurling a non-stop barrage of insults, before facing off onstage for the first time—albeit at a distance clearly designed to make sure no contact was made.
In the end, the clash might have been a touch anticlimactic; After all, nothing raises the level of excitement for a prizefight quite like an intense nose-to-nose staredown. With these two, however, the bad blood has built to a point where it’s in everyone’s best interest not to take any chances.
Prior to the faceoff, Masvidal told Sports Illustrated he wasn’t going to be satisfied with anything less than a knockout victory on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena, a result he hopes will knock Covington out of any featured UFC headliners and back to competing on the regional stage.
“The only way to deal with a b---- like that, you’ve got to end his a--,” Masvidal said. “I’m sending him back to the casinos. I’m sending him back to the gaming halls. I’ve got to knock his a-- out.”
Meanwhile, Covington—who is a sizable favorite according to oddsmakers—remains confident that his superior wrestling and impressive pace will make for a rather easy night against his former roommate.
“You’re such a bum,” Covington told Masvidal. “It’s going to be easy work on Saturday night. This ain’t even going to be a walk in the park, dude.”
One man will be proven right on Saturday night.
UFC 272 streams live on ESPN+ pay-per-view.
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