Colby Covington © Kamil Krzaczynski, © Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Colby Covington talks split from team: “Do we not have freedom of speech?

"My brand was being held back being at American Top Team"

Since leaving his home at American Top Team Colby Covington has remained relatively quiet about the move, but now he has opened up about the split. 

Former interim welterweight champion Colby Covington is a polarising character to say the least. His controversial tactics and brash manner has definitely created rifts between him and others in the MMA community. Recently, he left his long time gym at American Top Team after that relations between him and other fighters at the gym deteriorated completely.

While not speaking out on the subject all too much since the news broke, he recently sat down with BJPENN.com and it’s clear that Covington hasn’t changed much since his departure.

“My brand was being held back being at American Top Team,” said Covington. “I have nothing but respect for Dan Lambert. The guy’s been nothing but a mentor and a good friend, but you cross the line when you try and tell me what I can and cannot do in the professional fighting business. We’re getting locked in an Octagon to kill each other, take each other’s brain cells, send each other to the morgue, and you’re worried about some words that I might be saying? It sounds a little petty and a little childish, and I didn’t have time for that anymore. I got big business to take care of.”

After repeatedly slamming fellow team mates Jorge Masvidal and Dustin Poirier amongst others, a “no trash-talk policy” was introduced at American Top Team. This was specifically due to Covington’s way of throwing anyone, including his team mates, under the bus. This was apparently a major factor in Covington’s decision making.

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“Yeah. That was completely the ending of our relationship as a team and being a part of that team anymore. You’re not going to tell me what I can and cannot do. Your team’s name is American Top Team. Just think about that for a second, American Top Team. What are our constitutional rights in America? Do we not have freedom of speech?”

“It’s not fair to try and take someone’s voice away and their platform and try and tell them what they can and cannot do, especially in the fighting business. It’s already an ugly business as it is. Then to be mad about some words when we’re getting locked in a cage to kill each other in our underwear on Saturday nights, it’s just a little pathetic, and it’s not right, but I have no ill will towards it. I think Dan had to do what he had to do, and he felt that it was right to implement that policy for the team.”

Covington last fought at UFC 245, taking on reigning welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. The fight was closely contested and violent, but eventually Covington succumbed to strikes, losing via TKO in the fifth and final round. While Covington disputed the stoppage, much of the MMA community didn’t have a problem with the way the fight ended.

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With roots in muay thai and as an avid combat sports fan, Sebastian Vendel-Martinez grew up while the MMA scene was blossoming in Sweden. He became part of the MMAnytt team in 2012 and has gone on to become one of the most prominent MMA reporters in Scandinavia. Currently he continues to work as a writer, reporter, video producer/editor and head editor for MMAnytt.com

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