Colby Covington said a Fabricio Werdum sucker punch started their altercation last week in Australia — not him calling Werdum an “animal.”
On Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Covington said he was talking trash to Tyron Woodley on Twitter last Wednesday while waiting for a cab outside the fighter hotel in Sydney when someone punched him in the head. He looked up and it was Werdum, Covington said.
“All of a sudden I get in the face from the side,” Covington said. “I’m like, ‘Whoa, what’s going on?’ I’m a little concussed, like a little bit messed up in the head. Like, whoa, what just happened? All this heat-of-the-moment type stuff. I look up and it’s Fabricio Werdum and he’s still coming at me with his coach Rafael Cordeiro and they’re acting like they’re gonna jump me.”
Covington said both Werdum and Cordeiro threatened to kill him. The UFC welterweight said Syndicate MMA coach John Wood then got between the two sides. At some point, Werdum threw a boomerang at Covington, which Covington landed off the side of his face.
The boomerang throw was captured on video by UFC fighter Dan Hooker and posted to Twitter. Werdum has been charged with common assault by the New South Wales Police Force.
Werdum said last week to UOL of Brazil that Covington started the confrontation by calling him a Brazilian animal as they crossed paths in Sydney. Werdum admitted to slapping the phone out of Covington’s hands, but said Covington also kicked him.
Covington said that didn’t happen and the first time he knew Werdum was there was when he looked up after being hit with a “sucker punch.”
“I knew nothing about Werdum,” Covington said. “His claims are completely lies. I said nothing to him. I didn’t even see him before he hit me in the face. He’s out here saying, ‘Colby was calling me a filthy animal.’ No, I said those comments three weeks ago. Those comments are old. You can’t come up and attack someone because of free speech. It’s not OK to condone violence because of free speech.”
Covington ran down Brazil and its fans after beating Demian Maia last month at UFC Sao Paulo. He called the country a dump and Brazilians “filthy animals.” The comments have upset Brazilians, including some of his American Top Team training partners.
That doesn’t mean he should be attacked, though, Covington said. The Oregon native believes he should be able to say what he wants — free speech — without fear of assault and battery. Covington said he went to law enforcement, because he knew it would be a “he said, she said” situation with he and Werdum and wanted to make sure the video evidence — hotel security cameras, etc. — would be seen by the UFC and others to show he didn’t start it.
“Where’s the equality at?” Covington said. “All the people that are saying, ‘Oh, he’s a snitch, he went to the cops.’ Yeah, you know. You’re condoning violence because of free speech. You know what that’s called, Ariel? That’s called fascism. You know who else believed in fascism? Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. It’s not OK, Ariel. There will be justice served.
“He thinks it’s a joke. This ain’t a joke, man. He came up and attacked me. Take away the fact that we’re pro fighters, Ariel. If you’re out in the street and someone comes up to you in the street and hits you in the face because of comments you made on MMA Hour, would that be OK, Ariel?”
After being hit with the boomerang, Covington grabbed his phone and began shooting video of the altercation on Instagram Live. During that stream, Covington cursed out Werdum, called him an animal and used an anti-gay slur toward him. Covington said Werdum started out by calling him anti-gay slurs and after being hit in the head, he was not thinking clearly about what he was saying.
“At that point, my head was all messed up,” Covington said. “I regret anything that I said, because I was a little concussed, man. He hit me in the face. Like, he’s calling me these anti-gay slur remarks a bunch of times. He’s saying I’m gonna kill you, this and that. My head is spinning, I just wanted to get that out there for evidence.
“I have no ill effect towards the LGBTQ community. I actually support them. I have friends that are gay. It’s no disrespect to them. Marriage … that’s a mistake in itself, but that’s a whole other story.”
Covington said anyone calling him a snitch for going to the police about Werdum are the “same people that are cheating on their taxes, cheating on their wives” and “a bunch of filthy animals.” He said that a boomerang is a “deadly weapon” and Werdum’s fate is now in the hands of the Australian authorities.
“Fabricio Werdum, you messed up, dude,” Werdum said. “You messed with Oregon’s biggest bad guy and you went about it the wrong way, man. There’s a way to go about your business. You can’t come in and invade people’s personal space because of free speech. Now you’re in the hands of the Australian police and I’m onto bigger things: Tyron Woodley.”