Masvidal: Covington’s Numbers Show Trash-Talking Promotion Fails

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UFC welterweight star Jorge Masvidal believes arch-rival Colby Covington has proven that trash-talking promotion doesn’t draw fans in.

Ever since his memorable post-fight interview in Brazil following a unanimous decision victory over Demian Maia, Covington has made a career in the cage out of playing an outspoken and brash character.

While it’s led to an exit from American Top Team and a number of bitter rivalries, it’s arguably also brought “Chaos” to the top of the division, which many believe was likely to have moved ahead without Covington had he not developed a controversial personality.

In his last two outings, Covington’s trash talk has been perhaps more evident than ever and included attacks on Kamaru Usman‘s father and the family of former teammate Masvidal.

But despite their history and heated build-up, the UFC 272 main event perhaps had less interest around it than many would have expected, which was evident following an insult-ridden press conference that left a lot to be desired.

During a recent appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Masvidal spoke about his foe’s approach and ‘heel’ nature. According to “Gamebred,” Covington’s event numbers prove that trash-talking promotion doesn’t resonate with the sport’s fanbase.

“Fans and audiences, nobody cares for Colby. There’s not a person that lines up for his meet and greets, and that type of behavior and promotion, not a lot of people get behind it,” suggested Masvidal. “They’ll watch the fight and stuff because half of them are rooting for this guy to get his jaw broken, and the other half are just f*cking drunk in the moment, but I don’t think that promotion sits well with a lot of people.

“You see his numbers are continuously some of the worst in the f*cking league, and it’s for a reason… Real men aren’t not gonna attack women and children. It’s beneath us. As much as I might dislike somebody, I’m not gonna talk about their kid, even if I knew that that would hurt him,” added Masvidal. “I’m confident enough in these bad boys [kisses fists] that I don’t have to play these psychological games. I’ll just come and break your jaw.”

Whether or not Covington is a draw has long been debated. While the numbers for Covington’s main event appearance at UFC 245 weren’t officially released, Masvidal has previously jibed at his former friend for the year-ending PPV, suggesting that it was the lowest selling of 2019.

It has also been reported that UFC 274: Oliveira vs. Gaethje sold more than any other PPV this year at 400,000, which is significantly lower than other totals Masvidal has delivered ever since UFC 244 in 2019 when he faced Nate Diaz for the BMF title.

Interestingly, Covington’s UFC on ESPN 5 headliner versus Robbie Lawler the same year represented the worst-performing off the first five UFC events on the network. While the event amassed 680,000 viewers, fellow welterweights Leon Edwards and Rafael dos Anjos comfortably surpassed it with 957,000 viewers, as did lightweights Edson Barboza and Justin Gaethje, who drew 828,000 pairs of eyes.

With that in mind, there’s certainly some credence to Masvidal’s claims, especially when the split reaction to Covington’s latest trash-talking build is considered. Then again, Conor McGregor‘s numbers perhaps suggest that heated build-ups can bring immense viewership when done right.

Masvidal: UFC Is Right To Let Covington Say What He Wants

Despite his comments and disdain at the mention of fighters’ families during bout builds, Masvidal doesn’t believe that the UFC should “police” what is said.

“Gamebred” told Helwani that the promotion is right in letting trash-talkers say what they want because it allows fans to see people like Covington for who they truly are.

“I don’t think the UFC should police us. People wanna be a*sholes and talk about what they wanna talk about? Let them. The cards will unfold and people will see what they’re truly worth,” concluded Masvidal.

While Covington’s pre-UFC 272 trash talk was perhaps not massively successful in drawing in the masses and increasing interest in the matchup, there’s little doubt that it was successful in getting to Masvidal.

Not long after their bout, Masvidal took the feud to the streets of Miami and allegedly attacked Covington from behind. Following an arrest, and charges for aggravated battery and criminal mischief, the legal process is ongoing, with “Chaos” and his team claiming that Masvidal’s attack left him with “brain damage.”

Enjoyed reading this article? Share it on social media below along with your thoughts on the value — or lack thereof — trash-talking has on fan interest.

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