Last May, Colby Covington parted ways with American Top Team, a stable he’s been with for the nine years even before his MMA debut. All of it seemed to be rooted in his conflicts with teammates, which urged owner Dan Lambert to implement a gag order on talking trash against one another.
Lambert was asked about “Chaos” in a recent interview with Low Kick MMA. Here, he admitted that Covington’s persona got too out of hand, and it may have affected some dynamics within ATT.
“I have no problems with Colby. I don’t think he has any problems with me. He just… His personality and who he was and how he chose to promote himself just doesn’t really mesh with having a big gym with a hundred fighters in it,” Lambert explained.
“If Colby had stuck to shitting on Brazil and maybe supporting the presidential nominee of his choice, he would’ve been fine in the gym. But when you start attacking other people in your gym and coming at other people that aren’t even in your weight class or even in your gender of fighting, it doesn’t make for a comfortable situation in the gym.
“And I think he’s better off being in a smaller gym that can focus on him and he can keep his schtick going with everybody else in the world.”
Covington’s drastic heel turn came about in 2017 after the UFC threatened to cut him for not being a fan-friendly fighter despite his winning streak. Lambert says he was actually the person who told Colby to make some changes outside of his fighting style.
“I talked to Colby after the fight (against Dong Hyun Kim) in the locker room right there, I said, ‘Hey, they agreed to let you fight Maia in Brazil and their plan right now is to not re-sign you,” he recalled. “So you’re probably not gonna change the way you fight overnight, but you can change some other things.
“We talked and made adjustments and he augmented his gimmick to a certain extent, pumped up the personality a little bit. Maybe too much so in some people’s opinions and certain circumstances, but it’s worked for him.”
Covington began training at MMA Masters upon his departure from ATT. His first fight with his new team happened against Tyron Woodley last September, which he won via fifth-round TKO.
He is now slated for a title rematch against Kamaru Usman at UFC 268. It happens on November 6th in NYC.
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