Manager Claims UFC ‘Got What They Wanted’ With Covington vs. Lawler

Colby Covington
Image Credit: Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images

Colby Covington’s manager Dan Lambert isn’t too happy about the UFC’s decision to book Covington vs. Lawler.

Late last night, news broke that Covington will face former champion Robbie Lawler in the main event of August’s UFC Newark. Yet the former interim UFC champion fully expected to meet champion Kamaru Usman in ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’s’ first title defense when he returns from surgery.

Lambert, who owns American Top Team (ATT), revealed to MMA Junkie that they thought that was the case until last night. They were expecting to face Usman for the title at November’s UFC 244 due to Dana White’s presumed confirmation. Lambert said plans changed, however, when the UFC needed a new main event and Covington and Lawler were the only ones around:

“They just simply needed a main event. Colby and Lawler were the two guys that were most available. So they pushed it hard and got what they wanted.”

All Part Of The Business

Lambert said the UFC then called with an “offer” that was “a little closer to the demand side than the offer side.” They took it, of course. Lambert chalked it up to the rigors of the cutthroat business that is MMA:

“This business is crazy, and the show must go on,” Lambert said. “They’re promoters. They’re protecting the belt. Fighters are looking out for themselves.

“Sometimes those interests gel and point in the same direction, and everybody holds hands and sings “Kumbaya.” Sometimes, those interests are different, and everybody casts stones at each other. It’s part of the game. It’s never going to change.”

Covington Taking The Blame Unfairly?

Many, including Dana White, have suggested Covington lost his place in line by turning down a title bout with then-champ Tyron Woodley at UFC 228 last year. For his part, ‘Chaos’ said he had not been cleared by UFC doctors. Lambert spoke of three UFC events where the promotion needed a main event on short notice that Covington somehow got blamed for:

“They’ve had three times where they were short-notice desperate for a main event,” Lambert said. “There was (UFC 228), the canceled (UFC 223) card, and (UFC on ESPN 5). Somehow, Colby got blamed for all three. So, whatever.

“They’ve painted him as a guy who doesn’t take fights, and it’s kind of crazy.”

“Chaos” is booked and Ben Askren may potentially jump the line if he can beat Jorge Masvidal impressively at July’s UFC 239. Without a fight since UFC 225 over a year ago, Covington’s title positioning is more than simply unknown. Lambert said he hadn’t been promised a title fight by defeating Lawler. He wouldn’t believe the UFC is they had, as they thought they had the title shot until Monday:

“As of yesterday, they said he was fighting for a title on Nov. 2,” Lambert said. “So it doesn’t matter what they say.”

Did Covington get wrongly denied the title shot he was promised to save the main event at UFC Newark?