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[OPINION] Woodley vs. Covington

Colby Covington vs Tyron Woodley has lost some steam over the last few years. It used to have multiple appeals to the MMA fanbase. A top contender was to challenge a champion. The two were teammates at American Top Team, which is still a surging team right now. Both guys could wrestle, and the stylistic difference in their striking posed some interesting questions.

Now both men have had a fall from grace. Tyron Woodley has had a few bad losses in a row. Colby Covington allegedly had his jaw broken by the division’s champion Kamaru Usman, whom he talked too much trash to. For Colby to take that approach and then lose the way he did was shameful.

A post shared by KAMARU USMAN (@usman84kg) on Aug 24, 2020 at 2:55pm PDT

What we are left with are two controversial fighters clashing in September to settle a grudge that has been building for years. A win would still be significant for either guy, but that’s because in fighting, every match is important. The racial tension that these two stir up should be a big part of the marketing for their bout.

Divisive Tyron

Tyron Woodley complained a lot that he was being under appreciated, and he was right. He deserved way more praise from the fans and the UFC not only for who he beat, but for how he beat them. At close to 35 years old Tyron Woodley was improving his skills, and getting better at using his fight IQ. But then he started saying that the UFC itself was not promoting him because he was a black man.

A post shared by Tyron Woodley (@twooodley) on Jul 22, 2020 at 1:34pm PDT

There is no doubt that racism, especially against black, confident, high level fighters is rampant throughout the MMA fan base. Take two fighters that are equally obnoxious, one black and one white. The majority of the most vocal fans will say that they dislike the black one because he makes them ‘cringe’. They will say disparaging things about their character using nonsense reasoning. An example is when fans claimed Kevin Lee was imitating Conor McGregor. I don’t even have time to explain how insufferable of a claim that is.

A post shared by Tyron Woodley (@twooodley) on Mar 20, 2020 at 6:02pm PDT

To keep it short, log onto twitter and search for comments about Kevin Lee and Israel Adesanya today. Then search for mentions of Tyron Woodley mentions from 2017 until today. Compare that to mentions of a Darren Till, Mike Perry, Al Iaquinta and Colby Covington. I won’t need to explain anything to you after that.

Woodley’s frustration with the fans makes perfect sense. While the UFC definitely should have pushed Woodley harder, their flagged support of the former champion was not racially motivated from my perspective.

Divisive Colby

A post shared by colbycovington (@colbycovmma) on Jun 7, 2020 at 9:36am PDT

Colby Covington markets himself using identity politics. Every other sentence out of his mouth is something gross. While there are other fighters who are offensive, Colby’s slash and burn approach comes off the worse because it is unnecessary. Colby’s whole vibe is, “I’m white, I’m obnoxious, this is my country. I can and will say whatever I want and do whatever I want, and if you lash out at me, I will play victim to the authorities and act like I played no part in this conflict.” Minus the racial tension, that attitude might remind many of Jon Jones.

However, even Jon Jones cannot be compared to Colby Covington. Jon Jones never called women ugly or insulted the same women that trained at his gym. Jon Jones also never made fun of retired fighters’ personal tragedies. Just google, “Matt Hughes”, “train”, “Colby Covington”, and get a glimpse of how low Colby will go.

Supporters of Colby are the types of people to see a Black Lives Matter protest and react immediately with, “My ancestors fought for this country, they made a real sacrifice.”, and their families very well may have. But they forget that those protestors also have ancestors who fought, died and won glory for this country. Their ancestors then returned to a country where they could be killed and have their opportunities stripped away with no legal repercussions because of their physical identity.

Oh wow, you postponed your games?! Wanna prove you’re really about change? Quit your multi million dollar jobs and soft privileged lives playing a kids game, take a massive pay cut and perform the toughest job in America. Become cops!!!! @NBA @MLB @KingJames — Colby Covington (@ColbyCovMMA) August 27, 2020

Colby, his cohorts and his fan base will decide whether or not it’s ok to be upset about any given issue. They will then decide how you get to express your emotions, in order to make it palatable for them as an audience.

He uses MAGA as an ancillary platform to support these stances and market himself. It is not fair to use that entire political community as a scapegoat for all American racial offenses and tension. Colby however, weaponizes that perception and reputation of the platform to market himself against fighters like Tyron Woodley.

It’s Personal

Very soon we will see Colby and Woodley settle a personal score and the biggest reason to tune in is to see the drama boil over. This will not be one of those situations where two guys hate each other and magically make up at the end. The winner is going to rub salt into the wound of the loser, and honestly, it’s good for business. No matter the method of victory, the real highlight of this bout will come in the post-fight interview. Turn your TV’s up for this one. ■

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