Dana White downplays Colby Covington’s shocking UFC 286 backup role: ‘Never a big deal’
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While fight fans nearly lost their minds seeing Colby Covington’s surprise weigh in on Friday as a main event alternative for UFC 286 later today (Sat., Mar. 18, 2023) live on ESPN+ PPV from inside The O2 in London, England, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) president Dana White simply considers it par for the course.
Covington hasn’t been spotted since a massive win over rival Jorge Masvidal back at UFC 272 just over one year ago. Fight fans were hoping to see the No. 2-ranked welterweight back in action before the end of last year, but Covington has been in hiding ever since a Miami steakhouse brawl with “Gamebred” just weeks after their fight.
So when “Chaos” surprised the masses on Friday by weighing in as the backup for Leon Edwards vs. Kamaru Usman 3 the mixed martial arts (MMA) community practically imploded. Nobody knew Covington was pegged as UFC 286’s main event backup and when Edwards and Usman were asked about a potential filler earlier in the week they both played coy.
So why the mystery? Why did UFC voluntarily keep Covington’s backup role under wraps?
White answered that question during a Friday media scrum (watch HERE) in advance to Saturday’s PPV card in London.
“We didn’t keep him a secret,” said White. “I didn’t even know it was such a big secret. We’re out there doing what we do. I’m not really aware of what you guys know and what you don’t know until it happens. So, it wasn’t anything that was being kept a secret. We have a backup for every fight. It’s never a big deal, nobody really asked, ‘Who’s the backup for this fight?’ And it’s not anything we really promote.”
Luckily, Covington won’t be needed today at UFC 286. Both Edwards and Usman came in on weight and have not experienced any issues overnight. Fight fans will get to see their trilogy fight play out on London soil as “Chaos” waits on deck.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 286 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPN2/ESPN+ at 3 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC 286: “Edwards vs. Usman 3” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here. For the updated and finalized UFC 286 fight card and PPV lineup click here.
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