Ask Ant: The Liars and Crooks Edition

By Anthony Walker Aug 10, 2019

Phisher: Jeremy Botter broke the story that Colby has never voted in his life, and Colby responded to the article saying “I have hated politics and politicians for as long as I can remember…I have always found them to be liars and hypocrites.” How do you feel about this plot twist?

The revelation that Colby Covington uses politics to boost his profile but doesn’t actively participate in the election process by voting himself only confirms my suspicions about the persona of “Chaos” that is constantly a topic of discussion. It’s an act. He’s playing a character and doing a fantastic job of getting us to pay attention to him.

Covington is a highly skilled pressure fighter who uses volume and chain wrestling to overwhelm his opponents. As impressive as that might be from a technical and fitness standpoint, it isn’t the most exciting on a visceral level. If he weren’t wearing a “MAGA” hat and screaming about his devotion to President Donald Trump, we wouldn’t be paying any attention to him.

When the perpetually nice Stephen Thompson established himself as a title contender, he lacked any sense of controversy and was incapable of talking trash to his colleagues. However, what “Wonderboy” lacked in abrasive personality, he made up for with highlight-reel knockouts that looked like they were stolen from Tekken. His foe last Saturday, Robbie Lawler, typically says as little as possible to promote his fights. However, the consistent ability to put the man standing across from him to sleep keeps us interested.

Covington is none of that. Without the probability of flashy destruction, he has little in-cage aesthetics to rely on. Therefore, it’s necessary for him to turn the volume up on the persona. It has been reported that “Chaos” was threatened with possibly being let go from the roster while in the middle of his current winning streak. He literally saved his UFC tenure by reinventing himself as the conservative Instagram thot loverboy with the $6 smile.

After debuting the “new Colby” he has gotten more media attention than ever, he’s won an interim title, and he’s spent time in the Oval Office. So clearly, the gimmick is working. While he’s shown a consistent inability to show any true understanding of the politics that have become a part of his new identity, simply by attaching himself in a superficial way, he has moved his career forward.

Producer Jay: What is your take on the latest “Cris Cyborg” drama with the faked video, the Dana “interview” and Cyborg’s apology?

For both parties, it just looks like really bad. “Cris Cyborg” has carefully crafted her brand over the years and the video in question undid a lot of that hard work. Most fans seemed to clearly side with Cyborg during her back-and-forth with Dana White leading up to UFC 240. As Cyborg said immediately after losing her title to Amanda Nunes at UFC 232 that she wanted an instant rematch, it was hard to believe White’s claims that she was avoiding the match up. When Cyborg wore her t-shirt campaigning for the rematch after beating Felicia Spencer, White telling everyone that she wanted no parts of Nunes seemed like yet another spin job that was far from the reality of the situation.

The doctored video showing the “confrontation” between the two backstage after the event was just completely unnecessary. In its true form, it displayed a seemingly reasonable conversation between two people who disagreed with one another. It added nothing to the narrative. With its dishonest alterations, it was a low brow attempt to stir up controversy. That added all the leverage that White needed to double down on the Cyborg bash-a-thon.

White’s public relations sit-down with Laura Sanko was a ridiculous exercise in propaganda and revisionist history. The UFC president conveniently left out the nuances of context and full stories that reveal the true nature of the situations discussed. Bringing up Germaine de Randamie’s statement about the principles of fighting an athlete with a past PED scandal as a virtuous stand without mentioning the promotion stripped her of the featherweight belt because of it simply lying by omission. Talking about the black cloud of PEDs and the importance of being a clean athlete when the aforementioned UFC 232 was moved on extremely short notice to avoid proper regulation is hypocrisy at its finest.

However, we expect that from White at this point. He has a well-established track record for altering the truth and providing a less than complete version of events. On the other hand, Cyborg or her production team getting in the mud with him only got her dirty too. Take a look at his scrum after the Contender Series as proof that this is his world. Even after receiving an apology for the false subtitles in the video, he made sure to deviate far from the high road and continue to attack her while acknowledging none of his own mistakes along the way. This is how he approaches these situations. Joining the battle at that level just opens the door for more mudslinging. That does nothing for Cyborg or her brand. This is a clear sign that it’s time to walk away. The UFC and Cyborg don’t need each other to make money. And after adding to each other’s bank accounts, it’s OK to let the relationship come to an end.

kimocomplex: Frankie Edgar is officially dropping to bantamweight. Is it too little, too late?

I don’t think it’s too little, too late for Frankie Edgar to succeed at bantamweight. I would’ve preferred he made this move sooner of course. He’s 37 years old, and in the lighter weight classes that is definitely when most fighters are clearly past their best years. But while Max Holloway very clearly beat Edgar to defend his featherweight title recently, “The Answer” didn’t look as out of his depth as you’d expect from a man pushing 40 years old against the youthful champion.

With Henry Cejudo lording over both bantamweight and flyweight, the door opens for interim title opportunities and marquee match ups as top contenders like Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan just might be willing to risk contendership for the chance to face Edgar. My favorite potential booking would be against a returning Dominick Cruz. It would force both to earn another chance at UFC gold but still provide a meaningful big-name fight.

This could be a great move for Edgar, but I’ll stop short of fully endorsing the drop in weight. An aging fighter dropping weight could be troublesome. Beyond the fact that age makes weight cuts tougher, being among smaller men may not translate well for Edgar’s style. It’s very possible losing an additional ten pounds may negate the speed advantage he’s enjoyed at 155 and 145. Additionally, he’s endured a severe amount of punishment over his legendary career. Depleting his body of fluids might do serious harm to his normally durable chin.

Testing the waters at 135 just might be what Edgar needs to finally get a second championship belt. It could also end up dooming what is likely to be the final chapter in his career. Either way the time to answer that question is now.


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