UFC President on trash talk: ‘We don’t muzzle anybody here’

Daniel Cunningham
UFC, Dana White
SHANGHAI, CHINA – JUNE 20: Dana White, UFC President gives a speech during 2019 UFC Performance Institute Panel and UFC Fight Night Shenzhen Press Conference at UFC Performance Institute Shanghai on June 20, 2019 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Yifan Ding/Getty Images)

A topic that’s been making the rounds in the media this week is trash talk. Specifically tied to what Colby Covington had to say last weekend at UFC Vegas 11 after he destroyed Tyron Woodley. Many took issue with what Covington had to say.

Several UFC athletes labeled the talk as racist, and several in the media have sang that same tune. Media members have called for the UFC to step in when talk gets to what Colby Covington said last week. However, the UFC President doesn’t agree.

“We don’t muzzle anybody here. We let everyone speak their mind. I don’t know what he said that was racist,” White said in today’s UFC 253 pre-fight press conference. White has stuck to the same position relaying the fact that this is the fight game.

When pushed on if he would step in if something was directly racist, the UFC president responded, “Come on, I’m not going to play these games with you (the media). Would I step in if something was racist? Of course.”

The UFC is right in their position

I completely agree with what the UFC has said on the matter. I detailed the position yesterday in a piece for ESM. The UFC should let fighters say exactly what they want when building up to a fight as long as it’s not directly racist or hate speech.

Dana White is taking that stand and says that’s what the UFC will do. Nothing Colby Covington said last week in my opinion should warrant suspensions or fines. It’s part of the buildup to another fight, and he will have to back up those words.

I’ll remind everyone again that he had his jaw broken at UFC 245 last year. The fight game makes you pay when you talk, and can’t back it up. The UFC and fighting in general is not the sport that should muzzle competitors and I’m happy to see White take that position.

I completely agree with him in that there’s a line that you cannot cross obviously. Those lines should be pretty elementary to understand. You can’t just say you believe that all people of a skin color should burn in hell. If you think that should be allowed, I really don’t know what to tell you.

However, there’s been nothing said by any fighter that should warrant punishment. These are men and women who have to step into a UFC cage and fight at the end of the day. This isn’t the NBA, this is the UFC. It’s a completely different world because at the end of the day, there’s a fight.