Dressed head-to-toe like he was cosplaying George Washington, Covington took aim at just about everybody on stage, including shots fired at Ian Machado Garry and Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. But it was an insult aimed at UFC welterweight champion Leon Edwards that nearly caused a melee.
As the fighters in the main event were going back-and-forth in a verbal exchange, Covington took a decidedly low blow when he insulted Edwards’ late father, who was murdered in a London nightclub when the future UFC champion was only 13 years old.
“On Saturday night, I’m going to bring you to a place you never want to be,” Covington shouted. “I’m going to bring you to the seventh level of hell. We’ll say what’s up to your dad while we’re there.”
After hearing Covington mention his late father, Edwards launched a water bottle across the stage at his opponent and jumped up from his seat. Covington did the same as security rushed the stage to keep the fighters separated during the altercation.
Edwards continued shouting at Covington until order was eventually restored and the fighters got back to their seats.
When he was asked about the insult, Edwards could only shrug, reaffirming that the fight at UFC 296 hasn’t turned personal but his feelings toward Covington have only been reaffirmed.
“Not really [personal],” Edwards said. “The guy’s a piece of s***, but just make sure you keep that same energy backstage. Keep that energy backstage.”
Covington responded while UFC play-by-play man Jon Anik stayed on high alert just in case either fighter ended up lunging at the other one.
“Make sure you save that f****** energy in the ring Saturday night,” Covington said.
Tempers didn’t flare again during the pre-fight press conference, and UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby and UFC security ensured Edwards and Covington didn’t get too close to each other during the faceoff just moments later.
Edwards and Covington look to settle their beef on Saturday night when the meet in the UFC 296 main event from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.