Colby Covington faces Jorge Masvidal in the main event of UFC 272 on Saturday, March 5 in Las Vegas | Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC

What started out as a grudge match between Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal has turned into tabloid fodder

It won’t be a shock to pick up The Hollywood Reporter or Variety and read about how Andy Cohen and Bravo have inked Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal to a deal to star in a “Real UFC Fighters of Miami” reality program.

Covington and Masvidal have turned what was supposed to be a grudge match at UFC 272 into tabloid fodder. What started as “these two guys don’t like each other” has devolved into attacks against families, playground taunts and childish insolence.

We’d been told by Masvidal that the friendship between Covington and himself dissolved when Covington refused to pay his striking coach an agreed upon fee. That coach, Paulino Hernandez, speaking to MMA Junkie, confirmed Masvidal’s recollection of when things went south between him and Covington.

“We still worked with him, and we gave him the opportunity. When it came down to paying, to reflect and come with the agreed sum, he didn’t do it. So from there, that’s when things ended,” said Hernandez.

As far as beefs go, not paying a pre-determined amount of compensation for a completed job sounds like a legit reason to grouse.

Since then, the complaints Covington and Masvidal have had with each other have slipped lower and lower down the grievance ladder.

During fight week for their UFC 272 matchup, Covington and Masvidal — especially Covington — have willingly dived headfirst into the cesspool of pettiness that’s usually reserved for the aforementioned reality programming.

Covington, perhaps trying to revive a topic he tried to breathe life into in April 2021, tried to paint Masvidal as a terrible father and husband.

“The only people that are in critical condition on Sunday are his kids. He turned his back on him. He doesn’t want to own up and be the dad that he should be to them. He’s a deadbeat dad. He’s a deadbeat person. He’s just going to be plain dead on Saturday night on pay-per-view,” said Covington during UFC 272 media day.

Masvidal addressed Covington’s words during his own media day appearance, “For many reasons I want to hurt this guy like I’ve never hurt anyone before. One, he’s talking about my kids. Kids, religion, people’s wives. I think that’s beneath us. Let other sports do that. We don’t need to do that… If you want to talk about me, I get that, but what do my kids have to do with that?”

The answer, of course, is kids have nothing to do with a professional fight. However, Covington seems to be of the mindset that any attention is good attention. And with that, if he has to debase himself as a person to take a shot at Masvidal or Dustin Poirier or Kamaru Usman, or Jon Jones or the country of Brazil, well, Covington has shown he is more than willing to do that.

It’s a bad look. Covington, through his desire for attention — any type of attention — has shown who he is as a person, and it’s not very impressive.

Masvidal was not without fault during his appearance at UFC 272 media day as he delivered what came across as a pre-planned and scripted shot at Covington.

“Another thing I don’t get, why does he talk about women so much? Every chance he gets he attacks Amanda (Nunes), attacks Joanna (Jedrzejczyk) or any of these fighters. And I think I’ve figured it out,” said Masvidal. “There’s some doctors that we’ve been talking to, I think he’s gonna have a sex change and then he’s going to go on over and start fighting women maybe, because as he said, he’s just building a pay-per-view, you know?”

Things somehow got even worse during the pre-fight press conference.

The build up to this fight has been sad, petty and revealing. Yes, one man will leave the octagon on Saturday night with bragging rights about who the better fighter is, but the lead up to UFC 272? That’s been nothing to brag about from these two supposed professionals.

UFC 272 takes place on Saturday, March 5 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The Covington vs. Masvidal fight headlines the ESPN+ streaming pay-per-view portion of the fight card, which follows prelims on ESPN and early prelims on ESPN+.

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