Colby Covington referred to UFC Fight Night 178 opponent Tyron Woodley as a "domestic terrorist sympathizer" in an Instagram post Thursday night.
UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz supported Covington in a reply Friday, calling Woodley a "terrorist":
Woodley spent his entire press conference for the fight by answering every question with the phrase "Black Lives Matter" while wearing a red hat that read "Make Racists Catch The Fade Again," a play on the "Make Again Great Again" hats worn by supporters of President Donald Trump.
Covington is a Trump supporter and Ortiz has received support from the Trump family as he's tried to jump-start his own political career.
Woodley and Covington are former sparring partners, and they've told conflicting stories over the years about how those training sessions would play out. The 32-year-old California native told ESPN's Marc Raimondi and Brett Okamoto that Saturday night will tell the true tale.
"There was always a rivalry when we stepped on the mats and trained together," Covington said. "When they lock that Octagon, the truth is gonna come to light."
Covington is one of MMA's most controversial figures, having previously received criticism for referring to Brazilian fans as "filthy animals" during a WWE-style promo in 2017 that he's said saved his career.
Woodley is a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement and told Ben Fowlkes of The Athletic he understands his outspoken opponent is trying to create a political-based storyline around their fight.
"If you look at what he stands for, what he's chosen to build his brand around, it's politics," Woodley said. "And this is an election year. I feel like what's going on in our society, with social inequality and the way the system is working, African Americans being shot and killed by law enforcement, yeah, it's the perfect time for it. ... I think the fight means more now."
Covington and Woodley will face off in the main event of Saturday night's card at the UFC APEX facility in Las Vegas.