Monday, May 16, 2022

ATT Founder Talks Gym “Blowback” From Covington’s Brazil Comments

American Top Team founder Dan Lambert says the team began to turn against Colby Covington following his infamous roast of Brazil.

Covington’s shift from relatively unknown welterweight fighter to a professional wrestling-like heel occurred following his win over Demian Maia at UFC Sao Paulo in 2017. After earning a dominant unanimous decision victory, Covington used his post-fight interview to call out the Brazilian crowd as “filthy animals” during his Octagon chat with Daniel Cormier.

Covington had to be escorted out of the arena by groups of security personnel following the post-fight interview. Covington put a target on his back with his comments, including callouts from Belal Muhammad and Warlley Alves.

During a recent interview with ESPN’s Marc Raimondi, Lambert explained how Covington’s post-fight comments about Brazil impacted the training environment at ATT.

“Yeah, we had blowback immediately at the gym from some of those comments,” Lambert said of Covington. “Colby had never really caused much of a problem for other fighters at the gym leading up to that point. We obviously have a Brazilian presence at our gym with some other fighters and some coaches. I think most of them saw it for exactly what it was—just him trying to promote himself, but it’s not just how you see things in this business. These guys (Brazilians at ATT) are opening up their Instagram accounts and they’re getting direct messages from a million people in Brazil saying, ‘What are you doing you piece of [MUTED]? You’re gonna train this guy? You’re gonna work with this guy? You better step up and represent our country! What are you doing?’ So, they felt pressured.

As tensions escalated between Covington and his now-former Brazilian teammates, Lambert explained how he needed to hold a meeting to bring the team back together and have everyone on the same page.

“Basically, we just had a meeting at the gym, sat everybody down, and said, ‘Hey man, this is American Top Team here. I don’t care where you’re from or who you are. When you’re inside this gym, you’re here to do your job, and we’re a team. If anybody has an issue outside of the gym, or something somebody’s doing outside of the gym, that’s fine. But it stays outside the gym. Nobody’s too big to be asked to leave this gym.’ I think everybody brought into it and everybody understood it at the time.”

Covington has since doubled down on his previous Brazil comments and isn’t apologetic for the post-fight interview. Covington will face former ATT teammate turned bitter rival Jorge Masvidal this weekend in the UFC 272 main event.

Did Colby Covington go too far with his Brazil comments?

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