Colby Covington: Fabricio Werdum Sucker Punched Me, Issued Death Threat

Scott PolacekFeatured ColumnistNovember 20, 2017

Colby Covington reacts after beating Bryan Barberena in a UFC Fight Night mixed martial arts fight in Sacramento, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

MMA fighter Colby Covington said Monday his altercation with fellow fighter Fabricio Werdum started because of a sucker punch.

During an appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani (via Marc Raimondi of MMA Fighting), Covington said he was trash talking with Tyron Woodley on Twitter when Werdum caught him by surprise with a punch.

"All of a sudden I get hit 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."

The incident occurred in Australia, and Covington said Werdum and Cordeiro each threatened to kill him.

Covington's side of the story contradicts what Werdum said to UOL of Brazil (via Raimondi).

According to Werdum, Covington started the altercation by calling him a Brazilian animal. The explanation was notable because Covington called Brazil a "dump" and its people "filthy animals" after beating Demian Maia at UFC San Paulo, per Raimondi.

"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."

Raimondi noted Covington shot video of the incident on Instagram Live after he was struck by Werdum and was seen using anti-gay slurs. Covington said he regretted doing so and blamed his actions on the fact his "head was all messed up" after the punch.

The Oct. 28 fight with Maia that turned heads in the aftermath given Covington's comments was the last time he was in the Octagon. He sports a 13-1 record and is ranked as the No. 3 welterweight, while Werdum is 22-7-1 as the No. 2 heavyweight.