Every hero needs a villain. In professional wrestling, the person who plays the villain is called a heel. A great heel not only gets people’s butts in seats, they also engage fans in a match. Sometimes, fans tune in to watch the heel lose, other times, fans cheer for him because they enjoy the antics.
In the UFC, however, there is perhaps no greater active heel than Colby Covington. He’s doing a good job. Not only do many UFC fans despise him, but we do, too. Here are three reasons why.
Colby Covington is hilariously fake
In both professional wrestling and MMA, heels usually put on a show. In reality, these villainous athletes aren’t like their personas. But Covington’s fakeness is on a whole different level compared to other heels like Chael Sonnen.
Before the 31-year-old got famous in the UFC, he did a Q&A session on Reddit. A fan asked him what he thought about trash-talking and becoming a heel like Conor McGregor. Covington replied: “I think it speaks for itself. It sells and makes guys superstars, so if thats what it takes then I’m willing to do it. But you have to back it up and I can do that.”
Covington’s blatant admission of putting on a persona to make more money is funny. But what’s more hilarious is just how bad he is at it. He’s done some good trash talking before, but he’s also made some really bad gaffs. When the California native is delivering prepared lines, he messes them up and stammers through them.
When Covington is forced to improvise his lines, his trash talk becomes embarrassingly boring. And when current welterweight champion Kamaru Usman confronted Convington in person over his Twitter trash-talking, he just nervously looked at his phone.
There was also an incident when Brazilian MMA fighter Fabricio Werdum confronted Covington over his controversial comments about Brazilians. The former heavyweight champion ended up throwing a boomerang at Covington. In response, Covington threatened to file charges (he eventually backed down).
More recently, after being sidelined from a title shot, Covington tried to publicly annoy UFC President Dana White while he was gambling in Las Vegas. Incidents like these demonstrate Covington’s fake, poorly executed persona. He’s entered “so bad, he’s good” territory.
He’s a boring fighter
To be clear, Covington is a UFC fighter and a high level one at that. Any fighter can probably beat up 99% of people. However, that doesn’t mean he’s entertaining. Covington’s fighting style is heavy on wrestling. Wrestlers aren’t boring; many of the most exciting and popular MMA fighters use wrestling moves all the time.
However, Covington’s style is so wrestling-focused that he’s simply tussling with his opponent in many fights. He’s not trying to knock them out or submit them. As a result, the majority of Covington’s UFC wins have been by decision — and often boring decisions at that.
He gets political
Politics are divisive. Anyone who brings politics into athletic competitions can expect both support and criticism from others. Covington is a proud supporter of Donald Trump, and he’s made this a big part of his persona. In fact, after meeting President Trump at the White House, two of Trump’s sons attended his headlining fight against Robbie Lawler at UFC Newark.
Being a public supporter of Trump lends him like-minded fans, but it also gives him pushback from fans. Covington’s controversial comments about Brazilians made him a public enemy of Brazilian MMA fans and fighters. Both factors, as well as many others, have transformed him into a UFC villain. Whether we like it or not, Covington’s heel persona works. Many people watch his fights to see if he gets beat up.