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Colby Covington storms UFC workout, claims ‘corruption’ and hints at exit

Wearing a “Make America Great Again” cap that was perhaps the same one he donned while visiting President Trump, welterweight Colby Covington stormed a fighters’ public workout Thursday and demanded a title shot.

Covington, who was bypassed for a welterweight-title shot against champion Tyron Woodley by Kamaru Usman for UFC 235, threatened that if he isn’t assigned to fight Saturday’s winner for the title, he’ll ask for his release and join a different mixed martial arts company.

“I better be next or I’m going somewhere else. It’s title next, or I’m out of the UFC,” Covington said.

He estimated 80% “of the fans wanted me to fight. They didn’t want to see Usman. This is corruption from the UFC,” the Clovis, Calif.-born Covington, 31, told reporters after being escorted away from Usman’s workout at the MGM Grand by UFC security guards.

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The top-ranked welterweight contender, Covington (14-1) said he was informed by UFC leadership that since he didn’t take a title shot against Woodley in September after undergoing nasal surgery for a deviated septum — “I couldn’t breathe,” he explained — he wasn’t eligible to fight Woodley on Saturday.

“When opportunities pop up, take ’em, answer the door,” UFC President Dana White told MMA Junkie last month in regard to Covington.

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Covington alleges that the move was orchestrated by Usman’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, who represents lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, flyweight champion Henry Cejudo and former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt.

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“I could’ve been ready for December, I could’ve been ready in November. I’m ready now,” Covington told the Los Angeles Times. “All of a sudden, I get switched with Usman?

“This is all [about] Ali and the pull he has with Khabib. It’s corruption. There’s corruption with the UFC. It all has to do with Ali having Usman and leverage with Khabib.”

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimespugmire


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